August 12, 2022

Student National Medical Association re-elects Warrior M.D. Class of 2023’s Candace Acuff to leadership role

Wayne State University School of Medicine student Candace Acuff, M.P.H., was elected Region 5 director of the Student National Medical Association at the organization’s 2022 Medical Education Conference.

Candace Acuff

Acuff is an M.D. candidate in the Class of 2023. This is her second one-year term in the regional director position. She plans to apply to General Surgery residency programs this year, with an interest in trauma and surgical critical care.

The theme of the 2022 AMEC was The Emergence: Achieving Purpose in an Era of Health Advocacy, Equity and Reform. The SNMA follows its mission by creating programming initiatives to support current and future underrepresented in medicine medical students. Members simultaneously address the needs of underserved communities. The SNMA also works to increase the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.

“The Student National Medical Association is an important organization for me to be involved in because I enjoy being in such a unique space that was created for minority medical students to develop as leaders, while also nurturing the needs of underrepresented minorities in medicine and catering to medically underserved communities,” she said.

Born and raised in Detroit, it was Acuff’s upbringing in the city that initially sparked her interest in and passion for service within medically underserved communities. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and also developed a true passion for service in the community.

Acuff earned her master’s of Public Health degree at Oakland University in Rochester. Her background, focusing primarily on public health practice, has allowed her to appreciate the importance of health improvement efforts from a population health level, and has enabled her, as a student physician, to recognize how social determinants of health shape health outcomes in disadvantaged populations.

“I am so grateful to be serving a second term as the Region 5 director. It allows me the opportunity to continue developing as a leader while implementing the strategic plan of the largest student-run organization of underrepresented medical students in the country,” she said. “I take great pride in empowering the chapters and student leaders within Region 5 to prioritize the DEI efforts of our organization as we engage in the outreach, community service and philanthropic efforts to uphold and carry out the mission of SNMA.”

Since entering medical school, Acuff has remained dedicated to the city’s advancement and its surrounding areas through volunteer work focusing on health promotion, health education and community-based health programs. She previously served as the community service liaison for the School of Medicine’s Black Medical Association before stepping into her role as the SNMA Region 5 director. She is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society as well as the School of Medicine’s Aesculapians Honor Society, an honorary service organization devoted to improving the city of Detroit through community service and philanthropic efforts.

Founded in 1964 by medical students from Howard University College of Medicine and Meharry Medical College, the Student National Medical Association is the nation’s oldest and largest independent student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. Organized with chapters across the nation, SNMA membership includes more than 7,000 medical students, pre-medical students and physicians. SNMA is dedicated to increasing the number of African-American, Latino and other students of color entering and completing medical school, and to assisting in the eradication of racial and ethnic health disparities. Community service and mentoring programs provide science appreciation, health care education, mentoring and academic enrichment to elementary, junior high school, high school and college students interested in pursuing health-related careers. For more information, visit

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