Natalie Beissel, DO, MS, ’16, had just started her fourth year of medical school at A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA). The Minnesota native was completing rotations at El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson, Arizona. She was excelling academically–ranked in the top 10 percent of her class. Compassionate and energetic, she embodied traits of the ideal physician. In addition to being highly respected by faculty members and peers, she had a loving, supportive family. Her whole life was ahead of her, along with a promising career in internal medicine.
On July 30, 2015, everything changed. Natalie was killed in a tragic act of domestic abuse at her home in Tucson.
Her family members found themselves in a state of shock, disbelief, and unexplainable sadness.
In May 2016, the Beissel family attended the annual ATSU-SOMA Innovator’s Gala to award the first scholarship in Natalie’s name. The next day, at the ATSU-SOMA Commencement Ceremony, Natalie was granted her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree posthumously.
Approximately one year after her funeral, the Beissels held their first Bags for Nat event in support of domestic violence awareness. The event, which celebrated Natalie’s life and her fun-loving personality, raised nearly $23,000 in a single afternoon. Half of the proceeds went to her scholarship fund, and half went to the Domestic Abuse Project, a Minneapolis-based organization that provides programs to prevent domestic violence.
Bags for Nat was such a success, the family decided to hold another event the following year.
Last year, the family decided they wanted this initiative to become more than an annual event. They founded Love Conquers Violence, a nonprofit organization with a mission to honor Natalie and increase domestic violence awareness and education. While Bags for Nat will remain the primary event, Love Conquers Violence has added more events to reach families and children.
The Beissel family recently hosted the fourth annual Bags for Nat tournament. In the last four years, Love Conquers Violence has donated more than $84,000 to provide an annual scholarship of $2,500 to a fourth-year ATSU-SOMA student ranked in the top 15 percent of his or her class, who also demonstrates a caring personality toward patients and coworkers – a trait Natalie embodied.
A.T. Still University is so grateful to the Beissel family and the Board of Love Conquers Violence for the continued support of our students.
Learn more about Love Conquers Violence and how you can make a difference to those affected by domestic violence across the United States.