When selecting your career path in medical school, how did you come to decide on internal medicine?
When I first started medical school I thought I would be going into OB/GYN as my experiences to date had been working with women and children in Honduras. I soon realized that this was too surgical and was not the right field for me. I then developed an interest in Neurology — my degree in undergraduate was neuroscience and I’ve always found the relationship between the mind and the body to be fascinating. However, when I did my internal medicine clerkship in third year of medical school, it clicked for me. I loved thinking about people as a whole and considering not just the interactions between multiple organ systems but also how outside psychosocial factors influence health and healthcare access. I realized that I loved the scientific complexity of internal medicine along with the incredibly close relationship that it allows the provider to develop with their patients.
What drew you to Mayo Clinic for your residency training?
I knew when I was looking up Mayo online prior to applying that this was a place that had all of the major factors I was looking for: excellent training and education, interesting cases, exposure to all of the subspecialties of internal medicine, and the financial and logistic support to pursue my personal interests in global health, medical education, and clinical research. When I came to Mayo for interview day, it was immediately clear to me — everything that I could ever want in a program was available! However, it also boasted the very rare and important perk that program leadership was also genuinely kind and supportive. I knew that coming here would give me the training to do whatever I wanted to do but I also knew that I would be happy doing it.
How has Mayo Clinic been able to help you pursue your interests in global health?
Since undergraduate, I’ve known that global health was going to be an important part of my personal and professional life. When I came to Mayo Clinic to interview, I knew almost immediately that this interest would be supported. The financial support to go abroad is incredible and almost unprecedented. Additionally, even prior to setting foot at Mayo as a resident, the program helped connect me to a mentor with a research project that was exactly in the geographic area of my interest with a focus on an issue that has been a passion of mine. I now have one-on-one mentorship with exactly the right amount of support in an environment that allows me the flexibility to delve as much into this project as I wish to do.
Is there anything that surprised you about Mayo Clinic?
I think the thing that surprised me the most is that the team dynamic here is truly unlike any other institution. While I knew that this was true from what I had learned about Mayo so far, I had no idea to what extent. Not only is there an excellent collaboration within teams (e.g. between physicians and nurses) where multiple systemic structures are in place to facilitate good communication, but the interactions and teamwork between medical specialty teams is also exceptional. I have always felt that every member on every team was thinking about the best for the patient regardless of what that meant logistically for them.
Is there anything that surprised you about Rochester?
I was surprised by how incredibly beautiful Rochester is, particularly during the summer and fall. The weather is perfect around that time and the amount of wildlife/accessibility of nature is pretty incredible. I was also surprised how kindness, generosity, and selflessness are a given and built-in part of the culture of this community.
What are your plans following residency/where do you see yourself in 10 years?
While I have not yet officially decided, as of now I am interested in pursuing a career in infectious diseases with a focus on global health and medical education through academic medicine. I imagine myself splitting my time between outpatient (caring for patients with HIV) and inpatient with a focus on teaching medical students and residents. I also see myself applying these passions abroad — I am particularly interested in sustainable development using education to empower local providers.