Super Star Blogs!

Congratulations to Kevin.  Student of the Week!

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself: Hello everyone, I am Kevin and I am a Biology pre-med major at the College of Charleston. I chose to attend the College of Charleston because of the vibrant atmosphere of the city, as well as wanting a new change from the suburban area in which I was raised in. The College also has decent class sizes, and I enjoy interacting with my professors and engaging in tough classes such as organic chemistry where my questions were able to be answered efficiently. I enjoy being active by playing basketball, swimming, and running. I also enjoy watching movies (specifically horror), spending time with my friends, and reading. I decided I wanted to be a physician because I like the idea of helping patients cope with the stress their conditions may enhance. Due to health disparities, a lot of epigenetic factors influence disease in people of certain ethnicities, which is tough because a lot of these people typically live a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, my duty as a physician is to train people to learn more about their conditions and lessen the stress of having a specific condition.

2) Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? My favorite teacher in high school was my honors anatomy and physiology teacher. I participated in this class with my brother, so I was able to engage in the class as a student and a mentor towards my brother so we could finish the class successfully. My teacher, Mrs. Banks, impacted me by influencing me to participate in the Medical Society at our high school. Engaging with this society was a delightful experience because it immersed us naïve students of medicine to a new learning field by introducing us to infectious diseases, volunteer work, stethoscope and blood pressure usage, and other aspects of medicine. I was also performing well in her course because of my enjoyment in learning about physiological mechanisms, and she pulled me out of class just to inform of me of her interest in wanting me to pursue medicine. It was a true joy hearing this from her, and this is how she impacted me to pursue medicine.

3) When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? I first decided I wanted to become a doctor while I was participating in the SCRUBS program, which stands for “students can use bedside skills.” Participating in this program exposed me to a variety of patients in the hospital and being able to process the way doctors interact with patients motivated me to have a mindset that I can be a motivator and caretaker for patients of all ages. I also witnessed a heart transplant during my research experience at MUSC, and that experience awakened a sense of discipline since my mom’s side of the family has a family history of heart problems. Therefore, I can utilize what I learned in the hospital and lab to advance my knowledge about novel therapeutic interventions for patients with heart disease.

4) What area of medicine are you interested in? I am interested in either becoming a family medicine physician or a hospitalist. I realized that since I am amiable towards my peers, professors, and professionals, I would be more comfortable conversating with patients in a calmer environment. Being able to sit down with a patient and talk them through their condition/symptoms with a proper, soothing, and intelligent voice would enhance my leadership qualities which I prefer to maintain in my own office.

5) What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?The coolest experience I’ve had during my premedical journey would be using graduate level lab equipment while conducting cardiovascular research at the Medical University of South Carolina. I was able to use a microscope and the IonOptix software to analyze calcium and sarcomere transients in cardiomyocytes of mice. Being able to see the cardiomyocytes contracting amazed me, and further made me more interested in the physiological aspects of medicine.

6) What is your favorite book? My favorite book is Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes. This book contains short stories combined into one book, and the nightmarish and suspenseful qualities of the book intrigued me to read the entire book. Stephen King really made me feel like I was in every single one of his stories and reading about how these people are influenced by the supernatural was very mind-boggling.

7) Tell us one interesting thing about you that most people don’t know. One interesting thing about me that most people don’t know is that I’ve always either wanted to act in a movie or write a movie. I love horror stories because they are so suspenseful, and I began to write a story, but I was never able to think fully about the narrative of my story. Hopefully, I will be able to finish writing this story in the future.

8) If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? I would want to be an actor or director, but since that requires connections at a young age, I would pursue graduate school in biology and become a professor at a University or an AP biology teacher at a high school. If I were to become a biology teacher at a high school, I would also want to become an assistant swim coach because I used to be passionate about swimming when I was a younger child and would want to coach high school swimmers.

9) What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? The biggest obstacle as a premed was being able to perform like a graduate level student during my internship at MUSC. I was unfamiliar with research techniques such as making cell cultures, immunostaining, behavioral analysis, and using the microscope to analyze cardiomyocytes. I was also unfamiliar with cardiovascular biology. Therefore, I was provided a lot of papers about protein misfolding and how protein misfolding and calcium dyshomeostasis can influence disease processes within the cardiovascular system, and I had to spend a lot of time in the library in order to increase my knowledge about graduate level research. I also had to spend a lot of time with lab equipment, which I had to master so I could retrieve data for my research project.

10) What do you like most about Diverse Medicine? I like that I can share my experiences and achievements with everyone who participates in Diverse Medicine. I enjoy writing about these experiences because I can provide a lot of detail to people who are in different areas of the world. Diverse Medicine can help me to create connections with people who are also interested in medicine, and hopefully I will be able to get the chance to talk to recruiters. 

Interview Season Tips #2: Mini Multiple Interviews! 

More medical schools are using the MMI model vs traditional interviewing for various reasons: they test how you operate in a (relatively) stressful environment, how you think overall, and how well you work with others.

The MMI can be set up in many different ways, but they typically involve you having a limited amount of time reading a prompt, entering a room with your interviewer, and discussing the prompt in a more detailed fashion. The questions here can range from “Tell me more about yourself,” to complex ethical questions. Regardless of the question-type, be sure to keep calm, appear confident in your answers, and understand that it’s okay to make a mistake, but to also learn from it as you move to the next prompt. Expect 7-10 prompts, depending on the medical institution.

Some MMI’s may also want to see how well you work with others. On one of my MMI’s, the interviewees were divided into a few groups, were given an assigned project/discussion, and had to present the topic to our entire interviewing group and faculty. The purpose is to see how well you think in time-sensitive situations in addition to how well you work with others. An example of a group prompt would:

“You’re given five million dollars to create a health initiative of your choice, what would you use the money for, how would allocate the finances, and what would be the expected outcomes?”

The key to doing well in an MMI is to PRACTICE beforehand! You can Google practice MMI questions and try to time yourself. While the questions you find may be different from that on interview day, you will be well prepared in dealing with timed situations. If you have a MAPS Chapter, you can easily set up practice MMI’s, or even reach out to your local SNMA chapter to help out as well!

RESTING the night before is also essential, as MMI’s can be exhausting, as they require a lot of energy overall.

DON’T FRET if you make a mistake on a single prompt. Many MMI’s are scored, and will drop your lowest 1-2 scores, so don’t worry too much, jut be yourself!

While this blogpost was more general regarding MMI’s, my next post will be much more specific on how to do well on traditional interviews.

Stay tuned!

Aaron D. Dotson

M4 | Class of 2020

Saint Louis University School of Medicine  

Congratulations to Amber!  Student of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello everyone! My name is Amber Donald and I am a rising senior at the University of Florida studying Health Education & Behavior on the pre-medical track. I am a goofy and loving individual who is passionate about self-love, mental health, and music. I aspire to become a physician one day rooted in social justice and public health work. Feel free to watch my profile video where I explain some more random facts about myself 🙂

I am spending my summer in Boston through the Health Career Connection (HCC) program. It is a public health internship and I got paired with an accountable care organization called Community Care Cooperative (C3). I am researching how to enhance the patient experience and assisting them in developing a universal database that screens for social determinants of health for all the patients at the 17 community health centers.

I plan on applying/matriculating to medical school for the 2020-2021 application cycle and currently researching options for my gap year. If you know of any good programs or options I can do during my gap year, I would greatly appreciate anything you share. In addition, the last pre-req courses that I will be taking this upcoming year is Physics and I am a little nervous about it so I will appreciate any advice, tips, or words of encouragement!

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? There are honestly three favorite teachers I have had in my life. The first was my 5th grade teacher. She is a Black Woman who challenged me and saw potential in me. She saw something great that I could not comprehend at the time. I am forever thankful for everything she poured into me because she sharpened my resilience, ambition, and diligence entering middle school and beyond.

My AICE Marine Science teacher in high school was one of my favorite teachers as well because he is one of those teachers that loves his job and is in the occupation purely for the students. His passion for marine science was evident as soon as you entered his classroom. He truly cared about his students and he always gave me great life advice as well. I left his class not only prepared for my final exam, but for college as well.

Finally, my AICE math teacher was also one of my favorite teachers because she met me where I was at and never gave up on me. The pace and approach of the class was extremely overwhelming to me initially, but she made sure I understood no matter how many questions I had. She saw me for who I am, recognized my strengths and helped me with my weaknesses. She was also more than just a math teacher. She would invite some of us over at the end of the year for a celebration and help us plan for college and life as well.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? I can not pinpoint an “ah-ha” moment for me when I decided I wanted to become a doctor. I was never one of those kids who knew exactly what they wanted to be growing up. I just knew I always had this huge heart and found myself most happy when I was engaging in activities that were community involved. As I grew older and became more socially conscious I started looking at issues such as the Henrietta Lacks story and the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and realized how the healthcare system has always neglected Black bodies. This ignited a fire within me to help make change. I think that coupled with my own personal, family health issues and my heart for service are all major components that lead me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in? I am extremely passionate about mental health so the field of Psychiatry intrigues me. There is a huge stigma within the Black community about mental health and I want to help break that. I look forward to opening up a clinic with my mom in the future one day. Although that is one of my interests right now, I am also open to exploring other areas of medicine and looking forward to rotations once I am in medical school to truly decide what is the best field for me.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? The coolest experience I have had so far on my premedical journey has been getting to attend the Student National Medical Association conference in April. It was in Philly and I got to go with my MAPS chapter. It was so cool to be surrounded by so many minority students, doctors, health professionals, professors, and more making strides in the field of health. From the networking to the workshops to the ceremonies, I truly felt like I was meant to be there and left with validation, motivation, and excitement for my future.

6. What is your favorite book? One of my favorite book series growing up as a child is the The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. The series is so intriguing and a perfect blend of mystery, challenging SAT words, and character development. I always felt like I was in my own little world when I read those books.

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. One interesting thing about me is that I started a rap group with some of my friends last Spring called the Scholar Girlz. We were studying one day and it just happened. I hope to drop a Mixtape soon in the Fall. It is a fun little side hobby. I have been working on my freestyle skills this summer as well.

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? Oh wow, I love this question so much. I feel like I have been called to do a lot of things in life. I have a health/science side to me, but also an artistic/creative side as well. I would want to become a DJ, a voice actor, have my own talk show like Oprah, or have my own radio station/podcast. I also make this joke that I am going to retire as a high school band director one day. I see myself having my own businesses, like family-based clinics and restaurants.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it?  My biggest obstacle as a pre-med student thus far has been Organic Chemistry. Organic Chemistry led me into a state of depression that I thought I was not going to be able to escape. I started to have Imposter Syndrome, questioning my worth and my dreams of becoming a doctor. I had to drop and retake both Organic Chemistry 1 and 2, but I pushed through and I finished. I may not have gotten the best grades in course series, but I am proud of myself for persevering.

10. What do you like most about Diverse Medicine? I love how Diverse Medicine is a community. A community of like-minded people supporting one another on their journey in medicine and health. I love how there is so much positivity, advice, and resources being shared. Whenever I start to doubt myself on my journey, I find myself coming on this website for inspiration and more. I am forever thankful for this website and all the amazing people on here. 

Interview Season Tips! 

As an active member of my medical school’s admissions committee, I wanted to take the time to provide some (periodic interview tips to help build preparedness, confidence, and hopefully acceptance!

Tip #1: Traveling

What might seem simple can easily become complex. When traveling for an interview, ensure that you’re as prepared as possible. Create and review a general checklist BEFORE departing to your destination. Double/triple check to make sure you have everything you need.

General Things:

-Invest in a garment bag when flying, especially if your travels require changing planes. If possibly, opt for carry-on luggage instead of checking it in. Let’s face it, luggage can easily get lost by airline companies when you least expect it, and this will reduce the chances of that happening, as the responsibility it placed on you, instead of someone else. You can carry-on a garment bag with your professional clothing, and hang it in the aircraft’s closet at the front of the plane. Do make a reminder on your phone not to forget it once you deplane!

-Earn points and build credit during interview season! Many of my medical school colleagues have been accepted for credit cards that allows them to earn travel reward points during the busy interview season. Of course, read the fine print and make sure you have a means to pay off the credit cards ASAP before considering them!

-Always test out the hotel iron BEFORE using it on your clothes. I’ve had a few friends have their white dress shirts ruined by hotel irons because they had dirt and other things on them. Test out the iron on the white hotel towels FIRST. To help reduce mishap even further, pack two dress shirts for an interview trip if needed.

-SAVE MONEY IF YOU CAN! If the medical school has a program that would allow for you to stay with a medical student during your interview time, TAKE IT. You save money, the (usually broke haha) med student may make some money too with housing you from their school, and it gives you the ability to learn even further the lifestyle of a med student. Be sure to make a good impression if you do this. In the case the school doesn’t have a designated program, reach out to their Office of Diversity, and ask if any SNMA-LMSA members would be open to you staying with them during your interview.

That’s all I have for now! Check back in for more interview cycle tips! DO REACH OUT if you’re planning to interview at Saint Louis University School of Medicine (hint hint!)

A Day in the Life of an AQuity Scribe

On a “normal day,” my provider starts at 8:30, so I log in at 8:15. When she appears in FFS (Fluency for Scribing), we converse and follow up on any unfinished charts from yesterday. As the patients begin to arrive, we typically access old notes and I start copying relevant information onto a Word document, preparing some default statements in advance. Once she “opens” the chart, I can transfer that information to the active page in the EHR. It is ideal when I have enough time to get those templates in before the patient enters the room. Once they begin the encounter, I write down pertinent notes, turning the session into readable prose for the HPI and assessment. An established patient visit usually takes 20 minutes, while a new patient evaluation can take up to 40 minutes. During those new assessments, I am often busy composing a thorough history based on patient statements and outside records.

Although I have only been working with my provider for 6 months, I have learned much, and we have built quite a camaraderie. Together, we have seen patients progress, noticed red flags, and seen which medications have improved symptoms and which have been ineffective. I am not a medical student, but I am positive that this job would be quite useful in developing a strong understanding of work flow, treatment, and even diagnosing. My provider claims I can “read her mind,” as I recognize the questions she asks and symptoms they endorse. If I am off the mark, she is right there to inform me. Meanwhile, I serve as her second set of ears as we listen to a patient’s story or as a second set of eyes as I can relay chart information while she is looking up something else. Together, we can normally complete a chart in the time it takes to see even the most complex patients.

(Sarah lives in the Midwest and works as a virtual medical scribe for a psychiatrist in Missouri.)

Act Like You Belong Here!

Every July, I walk the hallways of my hospital and can immediately identify intern doctors and medical students. It’s almost like being in high school when the freshmen stick out like sore thumbs. As I walk by these students and young doctors, I ask myself, what is it about them that makes it so easy to tell they’re new?

Back in my premed days one of my mentors, Dr. Ellis Ingram, took me on a tour of the medical school. During this expedition, I was curious to know if I was allowed to be in the “doctors only” areas. He told me, “Dale, you can pretty much go anywhere you want as long as you act like you belong there. Nobody will question you.” Those words have stuck with me since that day. I understood them to be true, but remained conflicted. The question then became, how do I act like I belong in an environment when nobody in it looks like me? As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve developed clarity around this question.

1) Look people in the eye! In America, lack of eye contact is one of the biggest telltale signs that someone is out of their comfort zone. As I walk past the “newbies” rarely do we lock eyes. It’s even less likely that we’ll have a conversation. The medical field is full of pride. Academic medicine specifically is very hierarchical, and everyone wants to be the be “big dog”. People are constantly sizing each other up and trying to get a sense of who outranks who in terms of seniority. Interns understand they’re at the bottom of the totem pole and typically this translates into less confidence which is physically displayed in ways such as poor eye contact. The unfortunate truth here is that often this poor eye contact leads to others further doubting your ability and it becomes a vicious cycle. An easy way to better fit in is by looking people in the eye and speaking with them.

2) Do your homework! This means be prepared for every situation. The second telltale sign someone doesn’t “belong” in an environment is that they always appear confused. As I walk the hallways, it’s easy to spot interns because they’re often swiveling their heads left and right at intersections trying to figure out where to go. Clinically, they struggle to find orders and sometimes put in the wrong orders. This is VERY understandable and something I struggled with too as an intern. Again, it is unfortunate because it makes others believe you don’t know what you’re doing and their confidence in you as a clinician can drop. The best way to address this is by being prepared. This means that prior to entering an environment, do your homework on it. Go to the hospital the day prior and walk your routes a few times. Shadow someone as they carry out their clinical work so you have a better understanding of how to put in the orders. As I type this, I recall one of my Attending Physicians in residency telling me that they’d always come in a day early to ensure they were very well prepared for their first day on clinical service. Do your homework and hit the ground running!

3) Believe you belong there! This is the most powerful of all. You have to kick “imposter syndrome” in the butt and truly believe you’re supposed to be there. When you truly understand that you’re capable of being in any given environment, your walk will show it. Your talk will show it. Your smile will show it! Every now and then I meet an intern and mistake them for a senior level resident simply because of how much confidence they exuded. The only way to exude confidence at that level is to truly believe you belong!

Acting like you belong in the environment you’re in is the first step to success. This doesn’t mean that you fake it until you make it. Rather it means, ask the right questions and get up to speed with the environment as fast as you can. Once you’ve done this, it’ll be much easier for you to believe you belong there. After that, nobody will be able to stop you from achieving greatness.

Do any of these recommendations resonate well with you? What other suggestions do you have to help people better fit into their environments?

Why Do We Suffer: an intern’s story

Code Blue! My whole team took off running towards the 6th floor of the prison hospital. The adrenaline was pumping like no other time in my life and only intensified as we got closer to the room. And there we were… standing in front of the patient I had just pre-rounded on 20 minutes earlier. My heart sunk to the floor as nurses rushed in and out of the room. The world went mute and slowed down considerably as I tried to make sense of what was going on. My patient was as pale as a ghost from a massive hemorrhage.

That day was one of the worst days of my intern year. That night I questioned EVERYTHING. I questioned my competency, I questioned my career choice, I questioned God. Deep down I wondered why do we suffer? The emotional toll interns face is often overlooked and never talked about. You just kind of move on to the next case without fully internalizing things. Rarely are you asked to discuss your deep thoughts.

My patient was the same age as me. She had a family that loved her dearly. We got along very well in a very professional patient-doctor manner but at the same time I got the sense that we could have kicked it as friends under different circumstances. She had made mistakes in life that led her to prison at such a young age. She did not disclose her crime and I liked it that way since I never want to be biased in my care for a patient. The palpable irony here was the fact that this patient was a young, blond-headed, white lady while I was a young cocoa skinned, black male. We were outliers as she was nearly the only one who fit that description in the whole prison hospital and I was one of 2 black males in my entire residency program. If we were dressed in street clothes the world may have had different expectations for the two of us.  

Earlier that day…

That morning, like any other day, I walked into my patient’s room and greeted her. This was my first rotation as an intern in the prison hospital. My patient was all smiles and immediately stated, “I’m feeling much better.” We had been treating her over the past few weeks for anasarca or fluid overload secondary to nephrotic syndrome. She had a number of other medical issues including diabetes and hepatitis C. The patient had a renal (kidney) biopsy the week before and we were anticipating her results. The day before, the patient was with respiratory distress and calf pain. She was miserably in pain. I presented her that day on rounds informing my team of her shortness of breath, calf pain, tachycardia (fast heart rate), and hypercoagulable state. My attending looked at me with a grin and said, “So what does she have doctor?” I smiled back and said with all the confidence in the world, “Based on her high Well’s score, she has PE!”

Unfortunately, it was Saturday morning and scans were not readily accessible at that time. We were racing against the clock since a PE can strike suddenly. We walked by the patient’s room and my attending performed a physical exam teaching the medical students how to grade pitting edema, how to auscultate the lungs, and how to conduct the Homan’s sign for DVT. “Yep, I think you are correct. Let’s begin anticoagulation,” he said. In no time, the orders were entered and the patient was started on the IV heparin drip. 24 hours later, I was dripping in sweat performing chest compressions on her during the code. It turns out that the patient was suffering from a retroperitoneal bleed stemming from the renal biopsy performed a week or two earlier. We resuscitated her and she regained consciousness but only enough to get her to the ICU for a few days. The patient expired.

Asystole (flat line)

As I mentioned earlier, I really struggled with this case for some time. I believe every intern has that one case that sticks with them. It’s hard to move on. You think about the young life that was lost and all those who loved her. You wonder if you did the right thing. You become disgusted at the confidence you had behind your decisions. But somehow you have to keep going. There are more patients to treat (that’s if you are even worthy). Thank goodness I had a wonderful attending who recognized this was something I was struggling with. He pulled me aside and had a one-on-one meeting with me. We walked through the case step-by-step and he assured me that we took an evidenced-based approach to arrive at our decision. I thought back and agree that 9 out of 10 times I would make the same decision. Later that month, we presented this case at the monthly morbidity and mortality (M&M) conference. There was a consensus that this was ultimately the right decision despite the unfortunate outcome.

Looking back, I believe this case has made me a better physician. I know to carefully weigh all options when making a decision. I know not to be over confident in my decision and to humble myself enough to seek guidance from my colleagues when in doubt. I know that it is okay to say the words I am not comfortable with this plan of action. However, I continue to have many unanswered questions about life in general. A major one is why do so many suffer? As physicians and scientists we seek to understand everything around us but I take solace in the words of TD Jakes.

Have you faced difficult questions like this after the loss of a patient? 

Make sure to check out premed student, Curtis’ PreMed Voice podcast conversation about death. Dealing with Death  

Congratulations to Maria!  Student of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Maria and I am applying for medical school this cycle. I’m originally from Colombia and moved to the US about ten years ago.  Many years ago, back when I lived in Colombia, I started my career in architecture, and then worked for a few years in the field. I recently -about two years ago- decided to switch careers to fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor.  As an older applicant, I’ve had many life experiences and after all I’ve been through, I’m extremely happy I decided to do this.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you  Dr. Ely; my chemistry professor. She helped me through a real struggle with general chemistry, and she was so amazing as a professor and as a person! She helped me overcome certain fear I had toward chemistry.  Last Fall, she endorsed me to become a chemistry tutor with the University’s athletic department, and a teaching assistant with the chemistry department.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why?  I remember being very young when I first told my mom I would become a doctor. That idea was always in my head.

Growing up, my dad always spoke of my grandfather, who suffered from Parkinson’s, and he would tell the story about how his dad would go to the market, and my dad, a teenager then, would get a call saying that his dad fell down in the middle of the street and couldn’t get up (due to the muscle stiffness associated with Parkinson’s). My grandfather spent his last few years suffering from this painful disease.

I wanted to know more about it, and wanted to find a way to help people with the disease. I was always scared my dad would get it, and I remember thinking that if he ever did, I would be there to “save” him. Luckily, my dad is in his mid-60s, and is very healthy 🙂

4. What area of medicine are you interested in? Although I know this could change with the experience that medical school will bring, I have always liked surgery, emergency medicine, and pediatrics.  I think I’m excited about those three fields because for the past couple of years, I’ve had volunteer and shadowing experiences in these three fields mainly. We will see what the future brings.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?  I shadowed surgeons in the operating room, and those were extreme adrenaline-producing opportunities for me.

I’m also a Spanish-English interpreter for a local pediatrics clinic for low income Hispanic families. It feels so amazing to help those children and their families, as I feel I can truly connect with them thanks to my Hispanic background.

6. What is your favorite book?  I’m a fan of self-help books and meditation. I’ve always been interested in how other people face their challenges in life and how they become better people after those experiences.

My favorite book is The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, as I feel that Deepak Chopra outlines some of the most basic principles to live a spiritual and successful life.

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know.  I’ve played the piano since I was eight. I try to practice when I have time off, which is scarce nowadays.  Something else -but most people do know- is that I’m married and we have a 7 month old baby girl. She’s our miracle 🙂

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do?  I won’t take no for an answer. I would wait and continue to pursue my dream. I’ve had many life experiences and I am convinced I was born to be a doctor.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it?  I don’t see many things as obstacles, but instead, as learning situations which guide my path.  One of the most challenging situations for me was that, since I was pregnant during the Fall 2017 semester, I had to take two Incomplete grades to then fulfill the final exams during the Spring 2019, which was a time with very little to no sleep for me as a new mom.

Being a mom is the most rewarding thing ever. However, it’s been a little more challenging than I thought to complete my prerequisites while being a first-time mom: time-wise and effort-wise. Thankfully, my mom and my husband have been crucial in this journey.

10. What do you like most about Diverse Medicine?  Studying for the MCAT has been a marathon, and I feel that between the networking opportunities, the podcasts and other people’s shared experiences on Diverse Medicine, I’ve learned a lot and my journey has been more fun.

If I wasn’t a doctor…..

Fill in the blank: If I wasn’t going to be a doctor, I’d be a ____________.

A couple weeks ago, I got invited to be a guest on the Today Show. One of their producers asked me to send in some childhood pictures so I reached out to my mother. As I flipped through the old photos, pleasant memories returned and she told me stories about various pics. When we got to my preschool graduation, she laughed and said, “That day, all the other kids said they wanted to be firemen and police officers. When you got on stage, you said you wanted to be a doctor. Everyone started clapping for you.”

I have absolutely no recollection of this and didn’t even know I wanted to be a doctor at the age of 4. Well, in reality, I was probably just making something up (I really wasn’t set on medicine until college). The truth is, I always wanted to be an NBA player, but height isn’t one of my God given gifts. As mom told me stories, I got to thinking, what would life be like if I wasn’t a doctor. Would I be happy? That then led me to think about all of you on I’m sure these questions surface in your minds from time to time.

When I got accepted into medical school, I went out and bought a custom dog tag (that was the thing to do during my college days) that had the caduceus symbol and read “My Passion.” At that time, I truly believed that medicine was my destiny and perhaps I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t a doctor. Many of my friends had that same mindset. We ate, breathed, and slept the premed life. This was good, and maybe necessary to achieve the goals which so many of us now have. But when I ask myself that oh so famous question, “If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be a …”, I have absolutely no trouble answering it.

If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be a social entrepreneur. My true passion is to help others live up to their full potential. That’s exactly what a social entrepreneur does. They focus on providing services/solutions for others (typically marginalized communities) to the ultimate good of society.

So why does this matter? Why am I telling you what I’d do if I wasn’t a doctor? Because I want you to understand that who you are and your life’s mission is not linked to your career. There are few things I find more satisfying that walking into an ICU and helping a patient go from deathly ill to walking out of the hospital. It’s extremely gratifying and I love that feeling. However, it’s important to understand why I love it. It’s not necessarily because of the medial aspects. Those just make me really really like it. But I LOVE it because I helped a patient live up to their potential in a unique way that not many people can do.

I’ve heard people say there’s no other job in the world they could do. I don’t find that to be a thoughtful statement. I challenge you all to spend some time thinking about this question. Find at least 2 other careers which you’d be happy doing. This will force you to truly evaluate why you love the field of medicine. What is the driving force behind your passion?

So my question to you is, if you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?

Social Identity vs. Self-Identity on Race, Violence & Medicine

Stereotype bias, imposter syndrome, and authenticity. What does it all really mean?

The interplay of social versus self-identity informs our daily interactions. Kamilah Collins, an equity and inclusion consultant, explains how malalignment of these two identities can impact you as an individual, and impair organizational dynamics.

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