Highlighting the Heroes: University of California Grad Up for $25K

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medical School Debt

Victoria Ward

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital/ Palo Alto California – Palo Alto, CA

Dr. Victoria Ward graduated from the University of California , San Francisco Medical School. Prior to and during medical school, she worked for multiple non-profits and philanthropic foundations, focused primarily on global health, with a particular interest in fighting human trafficking.

Victoria has a fantastic knowledge base; she is bright with a wonderful work ethic. Her nominator called her

“one of the most caring and compassionate residents our hospital has ever had. Her follow-through is exceptional.”

Victoria has been especially superb on the very intense Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant service. She has taken meticulous care of her patients at all levels– PL1, PL2,and PL3, always going the “extra mile” for her patients. Dr. Ward even contacted the teachers at one 22 year old patient’s junior college to make sure they knew she was in the hospital(The patient did not want the school to know why and Dr. Ward kept that info private). The patient has short bowel syndrome and had lost a lot of weight and required an extensive redo of her parenteral nutrition regimen.The teachers were very helpful and understanding, to the great relief of the patient.

Victoria is such a skilled physician that her goal is now to be a hospitalist; she thrives dealing with the most complex cases imaginable. Positive feedback by her faculty caring for those extremely labor intensive and complex patients have fueled her interest in medicine and in her becoming a hospitalist.

Victoria made a major sacrifice by delaying medical training while she worked fighting human trafficking.

Vote for Victoria here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: USUHS Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medelita HERO Award

Elizabeth Miller

William Beaumont Army Medical Center, General Surgery Residency Program, El Paso, TX – El Paso, TX

Dr. Miller attended the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland and is now in a U.S. Army residency program as an active duty Army Officer. USUHS was memorable to her as it is a military medical school. While they study the same subjects as civilian medical schools, the learning environment is also designed to guide students into becoming military physicians. Dr. Miller thought the field exercises were ‘way too much fun to be allowed in a serious learning environment.’

When she rotated in General Surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, she realized that she had “found her people;” their attitudes and goals matched hers. She enjoyed the more obvious and instantaneous solutions to medical conditions. If she had to choose again, she states that she would place WBAMC first choice every time. The residents act like a family and the staff are highly committed to resident education.

For Dr. Miller, there was no one great moment that lead her to medicine. As she completed her undergraduate education, she shadowed physicians and volunteered at a local ER while in college. She realized the medical community was where she was happiest.

While still a medical student at USUHS, she met her husband, who was in the Army (at that time she was in the Air Force). In order to marry, she decided to switch services and join the Army – cross from blue to green. However, this meant she had to spend an additional training year as a transitional intern with no guarantee of acceptance into a surgical residency. Now that she is a surgical intern, she realizes the extra year was well worth it. She states that she enjoys surgery, loves her husband, is thrilled to be a part of the Army, and believes the experiences required to get where she is today have made her a better person.

Vote for Elizabeth here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

 

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Highlighting the Heroes: Harvard Medical Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

medical residency award

Meera Kotagal

University of Washington, General Surgery – Seattle, WA

Meera took an extra year in medical school and spent that year volunteering with Partners In Health in rural Rwanda. She states,

“I had the tremendous opportunity to work alongside nurses providing care at a health center for 20,000 people in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. I learned from them, and from our patients. I had always thought I wanted to pursue a career in global health, but this year confirmed for me how much I love this work. I love the patients, the challenges, and the joys of small successes. I was tremendously lucky that Harvard let me take a year to pursue my dream job.”

Dr. Kotagal knew that she wanted to pursue an academic career in global surgery – eventually helping to develop infrastructure, build capacity, and provide surgical care in resource-limited settings. She also wanted to be well-trained in a broad set of general surgical skills. Dr. Kotagal says,

“The University of Washington provides exceptional training — both in clinical care and technical skills. This training will allow me to be comfortable taking care of patients in a setting where I may be the only surgeon for miles, without a senior partner to call on for advice. This broad-based training and the opportunity to pursue research in global surgery as part of the Global Health in Academic Surgery Fellowship Track made the University of Washington “the right fit” for me.”

It was always clear that Meera wanted to build a career in medicine so that she could spend her life serving those less fortunate than herself; not only are is this what Meera says, it is evidenced by her years of actions in this regard prior to attending to the University of Washington. She is someone who ‘walks her talk’ and had done so for a long time.

Meera says

“Providing health care in settings where people often don’t have access to quality services — and working with the providers there to build local capacity and infrastructure — is my passion. I am not sure if I can point to one single incident that made me want to pursue a career in medicine — but I think spending time in resource-limited settings and seeing people die for lack of access to care continues to drive and inspire me. Just recently, on this trip to Rwanda, I met a 7 month old little boy. He is an orphan, and is being taken care of by another person from his village in rural northwestern Rwanda.

For about a month, he had some swelling of his neck, and over the past week he developed some trouble breathing. His breathing finally go so bad that his caregiver brought him to the hospital in Kigali for care. The provider who saw him wanted to get a CT scan of his neck to understand what was happening, but the caregiver couldn’t afford to pay for one. Overnight, while waiting to figure out a solution to figure out how to pay for the necessary tests, the child decompensated. His breathing got progressively worse such that he was barely breathing when I saw him the next morning. By some miracle — and a lot of hard work from individual providers — we were able to get him intubated and into an OR to drain the retropharyngeal abscess he had that had rapidly progressed overnight. He was lucky, and so were we. Many children aren’t so lucky — and trying to make sure that other children get the care they need is what I want to spend my career working on.”

Dr. Kotagal was fortunate to be raised with a strongly supportive network of family and friends. She says

“This is a tough one for me. I am not sure I have really had to make many sacrifices in my career to get an MD. I was lucky to be well-supported by family and friends, and really, going to medical school was a dream for me. The only thing that ever feels like a sacrifice for me is that by pursuing surgical training that is long, I am further away from the work I really want to be doing (global surgery). I know that that is key for me to have the skills I need to be useful in resource-limited settings, but not being able to be in Rwanda, or Haiti, helping to provide care sometimes feels like a sacrifice. But that’s not really about a sacrifice to get my degree.”

Meera Kotagal lives every day of her life as a personal sacrifice by extending herself to give to others. Extra kindness to a patient or thinking of ways to make the world a better place in countless ways is built into her genome. She is tireless and relentless in her pursuit to give and improve her world.

Vote for Meera here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: St. George’s University Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Christine Garcia

Dr. Christine Ann Garcia

Stony Brook University. Stony Brook, NY – Port Jefferson, NY

Christine received her Master in Public Health in 2005 and began her career with the County of San Diego Health & Human Services in California. Confronted with complex health issues, such as improving access to health care and controlling infectious disease, Christine gained first-hand experience helping communities in San Diego with limited resources and funding.

Because Christine did not attend medical school immediately after college and, instead, took several years to explore public health, work with a diverse group of specialists focused on improving public health, and teach English to elementary school students in Italy, Christine’s decision to attend medical school was a focused, mature, and memorable decision.

Miles away from anyone or anything that Christine knew, and several years older than the “traditional” medical student, attending medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies for Christine often felt like participating on the reality show, “Survivor.” Braving unknown territories and seeking allies amongst strangers, Christine found strength in knowing that she was following a circuitous route to her childhood dreams of becoming a doctor.

In time, Christine grew accustomed to living on the island. It became second nature to drive on the opposite side of the road, brake for crossing goats, and avoid crab holes in the ground while walking home. She met extraordinary future physicians along the way and developed friendships with similar strong-minded individuals who sacrificed first world luxuries to pursue dreams of becoming doctors. Christine found life-long friends and became the “mom” of her surrogate family. She plucked the feathers out of a turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner, Caribbean-style and tended to friends’ injuries from intramural sports. Medical school in the Caribbean was one of the greatest experiences in her life for the amazing academic training she received, but also for the learning lessons that Christine gained as a “Survivor” on the Caribbean island.

Stony Brook Medicine is “The Right Fit” for Christine because it is a dynamic, forward thinking program in an ever-changing medical education environment. It is at the forefront of improving medical education, focusing on high value, cost-effective care, clinical research and quality improvement. Christine’s program director and associate PDs are always open to new ideas and changes, making this program adaptable and personable to fit each residents’ needs. With strong support from the dean and chair of medicine, the program is proactive and progressive and continually improving. With fellowships in cardiology, GI, nephrology, pulmonary/critical care, hematology/oncology, and ID, residents have the option to rotate and participate in procedures from day 1. Residents are also able to serve on hospital-wide committees and help develop curriculum and program changes. Christine has received so much support from her colleagues with her research and publication that she was able to author several peer reviewed papers and poster presentations including:

Syncope as Initial Presentation of Kommerell’s Diverticulum. Cohen R, Garcia CA, Loarte P, Diaz L, Mirror B. International Journal of Angiology 2012. 21(2):111-116

Atrial Myxomas: A Case Presentation and Review. Cohen R, Singh G, Mena D, Mirrer B, Garcia CA. Journal of Cardiology Research 2012;3(1):41-44.

Electrocardiogram Manifestations in Hyperkalemia. Cohen R, Ramos R, Garcia CA , Mehmood S, Park Y, Divittis A, Mirrer B. World Journal of Cardiovascular Disease 2012;2:57-63.

Case Review: Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Cohen R, Garcia CA, Mena D, Castellanos M, Wu L. Journal of Medical Cases 2012; 3(2): 130-134.

Cavernous Transformation of Portal Vein: A Case Report. Cohen R, Ramos R, Shazad S, Park Y, Garcia CA. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research 2012; 4(1): 81-84.

Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia: A Case Presentation and Review. Cohen R, Castellano M, Garcia CA. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research 2012; 4(1):68-72.

Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population, San Diego, 2008: Role of the Intentionally Undervaccinated. Sugerman DE, Barskey AE, Delea MG, Ortega-Sanchez IR, Bi D, Ralston KJ, Rota PA, Waters-Montijo K, LeBaron CW. Pediatrics 2010. 125(4):747-755.

Stony Brook is also “The Right Fit” because of the amazing residents. Residency is tough but having great, supportive people to share your troubles seems to lighten the load. Residents become surrogate family, as you spend holidays together. During Hurricane Sandy and the numerous other hurricanes, many residents huddled together at home or in the hospital to brave the storms. They often get together at the end of rotations for team dinners and happy hours. They have also organized groups for volunteering in the community as medical teams at the marathon or at a soup kitchen. While the program itself is structured so well, the strength lies within its strong, capable residents.

Christine’s path to medicine has been a long and winding road with rough terrain and detours. Her decision to become a doctor was not triggered by one incident. Her humble beginnings as a child surgeon involved repairing detached limbs and performing “cataract surgery” on Monkey-Key, her most beloved stuffed animal. During high school Christine started working in hospice care, providing comfort and happiness to people at the end of their lives. That experience gave her a new perspective on medicine. During college, she worked part-time as an emergency room technician in a Chicago hospital and was exposed to patients who lacked the resources for preventative medical care. Christine found herself questioning whether becoming a physician really was the right path for her, and she soon concluded that it was not. Instead, Christine headed to graduate school and completed a Master’s degree in public health. Christine then set off on a journey to improve people’s lives through health education and prevention. Along the way, however, Christine became convinced that she could make a greater impact on the public’s health by combining her education and experiences with a degree in medicine. Christine resolved to go to medical school after all.

After three solid years working in public health, Christine moved into a small studio apartment in San Diego and studied every night after work to prepare for the MCAT. Christine abandoned a successful career in public health, a comfortable salary, and relaxed lifestyle, to attempt medical school as a second-career student. Studying basic sciences after 5 years away from college was not like riding a bike. Christine was out of practice and had much relearning to do. Finally, after enduring several interviews and waitlists, Christine accepted a spot at St. George’s University in Grenada, in the West Indies. In hindsight, medical school seems to have flown by, even though the first 2 years were not without pain and suffering. It was emotionally and physically draining at times. Living thousands of miles from her family and close friends during the most stressful experience of her life was rough and came with great sacrifice.

Christine completed core clerkships (psychiatry, internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics) at 4 different hospitals in Brooklyn. Most students at US medical schools do all of their cores at 1 clinical center, and initially she was not happy to be floating between different hospitals. However, Christine gradually recognized this as an advantage, as she was able to meet great people in each institution. Christine began research at one institution while simultaneously completing rotations at another. In her fourth year, Christine arranged her electives so she could go outside that network and broaden her knowledge and experience. In July 2012, she started residency at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Vote for Christine here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: Lenox Hill Hospital Chief Resident Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Residency Award

Niket Sonpal

Lenox Hill Hospital/New York City – Hauppauge, NY

Dr. Sonpal is currently the Chief Resident at Lenox Hill Hospital which is a part of North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System. In the next academic year he will begin a fellowship in gastroenterology. He graduated from the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. His medical training is a unique program that provides basic science curriculum abroad and clinical rotations here in the United States.

Dr. Sonpal’s major focus in life is medical education and that stems from his time as a teaching assistant in anatomy class while in his second year. He said,

“I remember how difficult memorizing this vast amount of information was, and kept thinking there had to be a better way.”

The experience was crystallized when he learned that many students did not pass their exams, and ultimately failed out of school in MS1 year.

“I knew medicine could be fun, and no one should fail and get left behind.”

During that time, Dr. Sonpal began a tutoring program for first year students in Anatomy and Biochemistry. It quickly grew into a problem-based peer-to-peer learning system in which the first year students began to excel in these subjects and in fact many went on to get honors.

Dr. Sonpal chose gastroenterology – because he feels strongly about preventing colorectal cancer but also plans to practice internal medicine as well. He believes

”no one should die from a disease that can be 100% prevented.”

As a first year resident he told me of a story in which he was given the task of delivering the diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer to a 60 year old father of 3.

Having to deliver such devastating news about something our society and medical institutions could have prevented made me sick…more awareness of preventative medicine and patient education is needed.

Therefore I believe that experience was a pinnacle moment in which he wanted to do all he can to prevent colorectal cancer.

For Dr. Sonpal, his motivations to develop a career in medicine are vast; he loves science, working with people, and genuinely enjoys the act of being involved in helping people feel better. But his greatest motivation stems from his desire to expand medical education in the United States. He is passionate about expanding graduate medical education due to the vast shortage of 45,000 physicians in America by 2020. This drives him to want to expand his educational efforts on a national platform and pushes him to participate with American College of Physicians and New York County Medical Society. He views his career in medicine as a pyramid, where

“I can help my patients daily but what am I doing for the other 275 million Americans who need aid.”

All students make sacrifices to become physicians and Dr. Sonpal has also made a similar sacrifice. During his eight years of college and medical school, because of the constraints, a double major and medical school places Dr. Sonpal was unable to see the vast majority of his family who currently reside in India. The silver lining is that his grandmother has had to learn about the internet and became an avid user of Skype. Dr Sonpal communicates with her regularly as she is his “little buddy” via this technology.

Vote for Niket here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: Stanford University and Harvard Medical School Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medelita Resident Award

Tust Techasith,MD

Stanford University/Stanford, California – Menlo Park, CA

Tust graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2011. He was a model student with excellent academic performance. However, his medical school experience was an incredibly well-rounded one that extended well beyond doing well in classes, rotations, and standardized tests. He served as anatomy and physiology tutor for underclassmen.

Tust also played an instrumental part in the rise of the “John Warren Surgical Society” to one of the most successful student-run organizations at Harvard, which provides information and mentor-ship for students interested in surgical specialties. He was also productive in the realm of research, working in a cardiac imaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, resulting in multiple national presentations. While doing all of this, he also found time to be a part of an intramural basketball league team which won the championship in 2007-2008.

Tust is currently doing his residency in Radiology at Stanford University. His skill sets and personality are a great fit. He is bright and inquisitive, possessing a mind that can handle a lot of information which is a must for radiology, a field that requires a working knowledge of disease processes that all other specialties encounter. He is a great communicator, a trait that is also crucial because of the radiologist’s role as consultants to other specialties. He possesses a positive, can-do attitude which is contagious to his peers and colleagues. He is also good with computers and gadgets, which allows him to be an extremely efficient radiologist.

Tust has been the ‘right fit’ in both the field of radiology and Stanford that he was recently elected chief resident by his peers and faculty.

Tust had always been drawn to science and believed that a career in medicine will maximize his ability in a way that can benefit the society at large. His belief was confirmed early on in college as he interned at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX, observing first hand how physicians are able to affect the lives of patients they encounter. He continues to have the same passion in radiology and hopes to be able to use his skills and knowledge to advance medicine in his home country of Thailand at some point in his career.

Tust was uprooted from his home country of Thailand in high school to come and pursue further education in the United States. He had to leave his family, friends, and all he had ever known behind. He has had to take care of himself at a young age, having lived on his own since junior year of high school, a feat hard to imagine a teenager being able to do. It was a big sacrifice for him and his family, who still resides in Thailand to this day. He has overcome many obstacles through hard work and determination to become as successful as he is today.

Vote for Tust here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine Grad up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medelita H.E.R.O. Award

Brooke Walls

Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Indian Shores, FL

Brooke Walls graduated from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine where she excelled both academically and professionally. She has a passion for learning and enjoyed her basic sciences courses, especially anatomy.

Brooke’s passion for anatomy and teaching was illuminated by her enthusiasm for teaching. After completing her first year of basic science courses, she was offered a coveted position in the anatomy department to teach an accelerated anatomy course and laboratory to physician assistant students. Over the course of the summer, Brooke, along with four other medical students, lead cadaver laboratory sessions and helped students learn through her own passion for anatomy.

Anatomy is integral in the osteopathic training and a thorough understanding of structure and function is pivotal in order for osteopathic students to improve patient care and treat patients according to osteopathic principles. Brooke’s creativity in teaching allowed students to easily understand the basics of anatomy and learn effortlessly. For Brooke, this was a huge accomplishment, as she had never taken an anatomy class prior to medical school. In undergraduate she studied international affairs and spanish. While this education contributed greatly to her understanding of the world and her environment, she approached medical school with great trepidation. She placed great priority on her studies, so she could become the best physician possible. She felt the more effort she put into learning now, the more it would pay-off for her future patients in the long-run. Her strong background in anatomy has molded her into an excellent cutaneous surgeon, where it is imperative to know superficial anatomy.

The residency program in Florida offers advanced training in skin cancer prevention, detection, and treatment; it has an excellent dermatology surgery teaching and Brooke has a passion and cutaneous oncology and surgery. She is an excellent surgeon and takes much pride in her work. She completed a year of research prior to entering dermatology residency. During her year of research she worked in the cutaneous oncology department at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida where she conducted epidemiology research on melanoma and other rare cutaneous skin cancers such as merkel cell carcinoma and adnexal neoplasms. Her strong research foundation has given her the opportunity to work with some of the experts in the field of melanoma. She has contributed to many research projects and manuscripts that have advanced our understanding of melanoma. As well, because of her outstanding understanding of cutaneous oncology, she has been able to foster relationships and establish a clinical rotation at Moffitt for future dermatology residents. Her passion for skin cancer prevention is also manifested by her willingness to volunteer at many community skin cancer screening in the community. She is also race director of an annual 5k run charity event that benefits the Melanoma Research Foundation. Brooke works tirelessly to help patients, the community, and the residency program. Her goal is to leave the residency better than when she arrived and to provide opportunities for those who follow in her footsteps.

Brooke’s mother has been diagnosed with melanoma three times. While this initially fueled her interest in cutaneous oncology, her work at Moffitt Cancer Center ignited her passion for this field. She witnessed many patients with advanced stage disease and felt helpless as she watched so many of them succumb to their disease. Her research at Moffitt Cancer Center, the volunteer efforts that she is involved with, and her desire to prevent melanoma and help contribute to the understanding and treatment of this devastating cancer are the driving forces behind her passion. After graduation Brooke will spend another year as a fellow at Brigham and Woman’s cutaneous oncology fellowship, continuing in her efforts to become a better physician.

Brooke made many personal sacrifices to earn her osteopathic degree. She grew up in an economically disadvantaged family. She has worked since she was 11 years old, paid for her undergraduate and graduate education on her own. However, she would not admit to being the one in her family that has made sacrifices, as she feels it is a privilege to be a physician and to have been given this educational opportunity so that she can help improve the lives of her patients. When pressed, she would say that it is her husband, a truly selfless individual that has made the personal sacrifice. Devon Walls, her husband, has put his career on the back burner to support her and her dreams for the past eight years. She contributes her strength and everything she has accomplished to the support of her husband and her family who have believed in her.

Vote for Brooke here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: University of Chicago Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medical Debt

Daniel Thorngren

Internal Medicine-Pediatrics/University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital – Miami, FL

More than anything else, the thing that made Dan’s medical school experience memorable was going to Central America. Between his 3rd and 4th years at the University of Chicago, Dan went to El Salvador for 7 months to volunteer and learn with the organization Doctors for Global Health. During this time he practiced Spanish, lent a helping hand in a primary care clinic, did some personal reflection, and, as he tells it, “ate the best tortillas ever.”

Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics is the perfect fit for Dan. The person who nominated Dan had this to say about him:

I’m lucky to call Dan a best friend, but he’s maybe not so lucky because I’m a neurotic mother. Dan has talked me down from multiple ledges pertaining to health scares with my children – including several hours on the phone while he was out of the country talking me through an unusual infection. He was able to explain antibiotics and how they work in a way that no one else could. He was also able to make me laugh and calm my nerves in a way that is authentic to Dan. He is calm, patient, and incredibly effective at explaining the hows and whys of medicine to a layperson like myself.

I believe that Dan will encounter lots of patients and parents like me throughout his career in medicine. To think about how many fears he will squash and how many people he will put at ease just by being himself is extremely satisfying to think about. He is incredible at talking with, not at, every type of person. Not to mention, the way Dan is with children is so fun to watch! He interacts with my kids in such a playful and loving way that anyone who witnesses would no doubt want him as their pediatrician. Any parent would be lucky to have someone as earnest and kind as Dan take care of their children.

There are a lot of things Dan wants to do with his career, not the least of which includes lessening health care disparities. He has remarkable empathy for every person he meets and cares about their situation in a way that is unique to him. Seeing the inequalities in healthcare access throughout his travels and during medical school have made him believe more than ever that he belongs in medicine, providing care to those people that society sometimes forgets.

Dan sacrificed living for himself and lives in a way that is not self-serving, which is a rarity and makes him a pleasure to be around. He  lives his life in a way to benefit the greater good and never thinks twice about making sacrifices for others.

Vote for Daniel here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: Anahuac University Grad & Mount Sinai Resident Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

#match2014

Aurora Leon Conde

Icahn School of Medicine – St. Luke’s/Roosevelt – New York, NY

Dr. Aurora Leon Conde graduated from Anahuac University in Mexico City, Mexico. Her medical school experience was made memorable by the extensive involvement of her teachers – both in the classroom and in the hospitals with patients. She was exposed to the whole spectrum of healthcare – from private university hospitals to large community hospitals and also to under-served areas surrounding Mexico City. She also took care of the under-served population in a rural setting for one year as part of the service requirement after graduating medical school. It was this year that solidified her decision to pursue primary care.

Internal Medicine provides Dr. Leon Conde a holistic approach to the patient – she can see the patient in their entirety and incorporate their social structure, their personal values and their spirituality into her care plan for the patient. She feels strongly that the physician cannot just treat the disease, they must treat the whole patient and their circumstances. By training at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt, she was able to learn to take care of an extremely diverse patient population both in the inpatient and outpatient setting.

Dr. Leon Conde feels that this career will allow her to build connections with patients that will allow her to positively affect their lives. She cares deeply for patients and relishes the human interaction that a career in Medicine affords. When she did her internship back in Mexico, she was very drawn to patients who were dying – other doctors would often say “there is nothing more we can do.” She would search out those patients and spend time with them, supporting them and talking about things that mattered to the patient – she realized then that Medicine is all about connecting with the patient and that there is something the physician can always offer, even at the end of life.

It was very difficult for Dr. Leon Conde to move from Mexico, away from her family and friends and support structure, so that she could have the highest level of training that currently exists.

Vote for Aurora here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: New York University School of Medicine Grad Up for a $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

#Match2014

Tiago Miguel

New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center – New York, NY

Tiago Miguel graduated from the New York University School of Medicine. As a medical student there, Tiago had the unique opportunity to rotate in neighboring Bellevue Hospital; Tiago did his internal medicine clerkship at Bellevue hospital in his third year of medical school.

In Tiago’s personal statement, he described that by the end of his second week of his clerkship, he had been wholeheartedly convinced that the field was a mutually perfect match. One component of internal medicine at Bellevue that complemented his passion for medicine was the autonomy it afforded students and residents to formulate their own preliminary assessments and plans before a unified approach was devised. Tiago described how this freedom to think critically and work independently catalyzed his growth as a clinician and passion for internal medicine by allowing him to see and understand the field through my own thoughts and experiences. Yet despite the amount of autonomy granted, the group mentality was not lost, as he was able to function as a critical member of a cohesive treatment team. Whether by drawing and interpreting an arterial blood gas sample, surveying the literature, or providing his overall clinical impression, Tiago’s suggestions and observations shaped the care his team delivered on multiple occasions. He
attributes these small, but fortunate achievements to the independence he was given at Bellevue Hospital.

In Tiago’s personal statement, he described that his decision to pursue internal medicine was compelled by his care for one particularly ill 31-year-old woman with a prior diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus. He had the opportunity to care for her from the initial ER transfer for mild dsypnea, until her transfer to the MICU and final diagnosis of invasive Aspergillosis. Her case was an ideal
representation of what drew Tiago to internal medicine. He was awed by the disease progression and intensely engaged in the constant evolution of their differential diagnosis and therapeutic approach, all while communicating his empathy and maintaining close contact with the patient countless times a day.

A particularly meaningful incident in Tiago’s education occurred during his work as an emergency medical technician  due to its emotional burden and impact on his path to medicine. Tiago received an emergency call and, when he was partnered with a rookie paramedic, he knew he would have to lead with great assertion if the team was to give the 24-year-old gunshot victim a real chance at survival. With sirens wailing and the police radio chatter at its peak, Tiago performed the initial patient assessment, delegated necessary tasks to the responding firefighters, communicated the patient’s clinical status to the ER, all while assisting his partner with providing advanced life support.

Although their efforts ultimately proved futile, the day’s events helped foster several important personal realizations. First, he recognized a desire to provide long term, definitive, and more enduring medical care that would allow him to diagnose, to treat, and alter the course of disease and injury. Second, he realized a longing for the opportunity to develop significant, lasting therapeutic relationships by explaining disease, quelling fears, or consoling loved ones to ensure that his career would go beyond making the diagnosis or creating a treatment plan.

Tiago worked through medical school as an emergency medical technician. In addition to keeping up with the demanding pre-clinical matriculum with ease (demonstrated by his superb performance on Step 1 of the USMLE), and serving as a research fellow with the Hunter College Summer Honors Research Fellowship Program, Tiago continued to serve as an emergency medical technician with graduated levels of responsibility. His commitment to patient care and clinical experience meant that he he went out of his way to manage additional responsibilities in addition to his rigorous medical school responsibilities.

Vote for Tiago here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: Jefferson Medical College Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

 

med school debt

Kanani Titchen

Jefferson/AI duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE – Philadelphia, PA

Kanani is a nontraditional resident in the sense that she had a career (acting) before attending medical school a bit later in life. Since her third year of medical school at Jefferson Medical College, she has developed and grow tremendously. She is also President of  American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)!

Medical School was memorable for Kanani because she was able to learn a tremendous amount about herself in terms of the things for which she is truly passionate. Medical school also offered her the knowledge to start to work on different projects. She is currently working to educate medical professionals about the global problem of human trafficking.

Kanani is passionate about helping people who cannot advocate for themselves; pediatrics is therefore a natural fit for her. She works tirelessly to help make the world a bit better. As president of the American Medical Women’s Association, she works to help advance the cause of women’s health and women’s health providers.

Jefferson/AI duPont Hospital for Children‘s residency program is a great fit for Kanani because it offers a busy, full-service children’s hospital in an environment that feels like a family. Kanani has been able to work closely with numerous faculty members, on a number of projects, including her ambitious project to educate healthcare providers nationwide about the problem of human trafficking.

Kanani wants to make the world a better place and works tirelessly to do so. Her inspiration for committing to a career in medicine was the death of her father. She saw firsthand how his doctors took care of him throughout his life and helped his family through the difficult events surrounding his death.

Kanani left a satisfying career in acting to pursue her dream to be a physician. Not only is returning to medical school difficult from the perspective of returning to formal studying, but this decision greatly impacted her husband as well. When many of her colleagues were setting into leadership roles in their respective careers, she was starting all over (at an older age no less while incurring significant debt).

Vote for Kanani here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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Highlighting the Heroes: Marine and Rutgers Grad Nominated for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medical Resident Award

Octaviano (OJ) Espinosa

Naval Medical Center San Diego – San Diego, CA

Dr. OJ Espinosa graduated from medical school in 2008 at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School at the age of 38. Beside having to keep up with his much younger classmates, OJ’s first child was born one week before his first day of school. OJ describes his son Bridger as a wonderful, but very colicky baby! OJ distinctly remembers that Bridger did not sleep through the night until Halloween of his first year. Those first several examinations in medical school were difficult, but OJ persevered.

Dr. Espinosa started his residency career as an intern in General Surgery. He quickly realized he was not in the right place. His heart and bedside manner belonged with obstetrics and gynecology. In fact, in looking back, the first surgery he remembers watching was a cesarean section performed by his father, a general physician, in Nicaragua. OJ was only 6 years old. It seems he was truly destined to be an Ob/Gyn.

Prior to entering the medical field, Dr. Espinosa was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He had aspirations for medicine as a child, but initially opted to pursue a military career. At one point, his father became ill and needed cardiac surgery. While home, the surgeon who took care of his father asked if OJ was interested in observing in the operating room. This experience motivated OJ to change the path of his life. He realized what amazing work could be done as a physician and surgeon. He began making plans to pursue his own medical career thanks to the man who saved his father’s life.

Dr. Espinosa was selected for Major (O-4) in the Marine Corps when he decided to pursue his dream and apply to medical school. He had a very promising career in the Marine Corps. Ultimately, he was honorably discharged and went back to school for post baccalaureate studies and earned a Masters Degree in Biomedical Sciences. He was then awarded the Health Professions Scholarship and was REDUCED to the rank of Ensign (O-1) in order to start his career in the Navy. He went on to attend medical school at Rutgers. By then, he had started a family of his own and sacrificed a great deal of time with them to pursue his degree and complete his residency training.

Vote for Octaviano here.

If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.

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