Pearlyn Tomose has begun her schooling

By Stan Bindell
Polaccas, Arizona (NFIC) 10-08

Pearlyn Tomosie began school recently at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.

Tomosie, who is Hopi, was accepted last year, but since she was married last year and her grandmother was ill she received a deferment to start this year.

Tomosie, who graduated from Hopi High School in 2000, attended her White Coat Ceremony earlier this month. The White Coat Ceremony is where the medical students receive their doctor’s coat because they will start to see patient’s this year.

Tomosie said the White Coat Ceremony made her start of medical school “official.” She also recited the doctor’s hippocratic oath during the ceremony. Her husband Larson “Stu” Harris Jr. and relatives Ivan and Yvonne Sidney also attended the ceremony.

Ivan Sidney, an assistant to Hopi Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma Sr., praised Tomosie, saying she makes both her family and tribe proud.

Tomosie is one of 66 students to enter the prestigious program. She said that for each entry there were five applicants.

“The first day of medical school showed me that it is not impossible, just overwhelming. I understand the material, but it’s a lot,” she said.


Tomosie is one of eight Native Americans in the program entering in the Indians into Medicine program, but she is the only one from Arizona or the Southwest. She is glad other Native Americans are in her class because it makes her feel more at home.

“I know I’m not the only minority there,” she said. “I’ll interact and get along with all the students, but I’ll relate better to the Native students.”

According to the Indians into Medicine Program, Tomosie has to come back to her reservation to help her tribe and for that commitment she receives a discount in her tuition.

It isn’t much of a sacrifice for Tomosie because she planned to come to Hopi Health Care Center to work anyway. The tuition for the medical school is $42,000 per year, but the Indians into Medicine program reduced her tuition to $24,000 per year. She hopes to get scholarships from the Hopi Tribe and Indian Health Services. If those don’t come through, she’ll rely on loans.

“It will be worth the investment,” she said.

Tomosie hopes to be a family physician with an emphasis on cancer. She finished as the valedictorian at Hopi High in 2000. During her high school years, she was involved with National Honor Society, Gifted and Talented and Health Careers Pathways.

Tomosie credits Hopi High, especially then-science teacher Thomas Mentzer, with pushing her.

She started her college work at Arizona State University in Tempe before finishing her BS in microbiology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where she was closer to home. She was involved with National Honor Society and Club Med in college.

“My advice to students is start early, study hard and go above and beyond,” she said. “Remember anybody can do it. I’m not from a medical family. It’s what you make of it. Stop at nothing to get it if you want it bad enough.”

She is the daughter of Shirley Tomosie and Wally Grover from Polacca.