Obituary: Momoko Oyama, medical school student, 24

Oyama (photo courtesy of the family)

Momoko Oyama, a Washington University in St. Louis graduate on the verge of beginning her third year of medical school at the university, died Sunday, June 14, 2020, at her campus apartment in St. Louis. The cause of death is not yet known. Oyama, who had planned to become a neonatologist, was 24.

“Momo was kind, smart and generous with her time,” said Lisa Moscoso, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and associate dean for student affairs at the School of Medicine. “She really found meaning and joy in her work with children, and her playful laughter and quiet patience were traits we love to see in pediatrics.

“Her loss is devastating to her family, her class and the many other people who loved her — and it’s also a great loss to the young patients and families she would have helped as a physician. She genuinely delighted in children and would have been an amazing addition to the field of pediatrics.”

Oyama was born in Fukuoko, Japan, and moved to the United States when she was 3. Growing up in St. Louis, she attended Japanese school on Saturdays and was fluent in Japanese. She decided to attend Washington University, where she graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in biology from Arts & Sciences.

While an undergrad, she participated in the Institute for Public Health’s Summer Research Program, which she credited with sparking her interest in public health.

Oyama is survived by her mother, Reiko Oyama, director of nuclear pharmacy at the university’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology; her father, Nobuyuki Oyama; her sister, Sakura Oyama (Oliver McMillan); and her beloved dog, Kuma.

A funeral service was held June 18 in St. Louis. Plans are being made for a memorial service that friends can more easily attend in the fall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Animal Protective Association Adoption Center of Missouri; 1705 S. Hanley Road; St. Louis, MO; 63144.

Read the full obituary on the School of Medicine site.

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