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MD Program Meet Diana Kinney
Class of 2023

Diana Kinney, MD Program Class of 2023

Hometown: Yorktown, Virginia
Undergraduate: University of Virginia, BA in biology; chemistry minor
Graduate: Eastern Virginia Medical School, MS in Biomedical Sciences

What drew you to medicine, and to the College of Medicine specifically?

I was drawn to medicine due to a love for health and science, curiosity and passion for lifelong learning, and fulfillment through serving others.

The curriculum at Drexel stood out to me from the beginning. Having taken first-year medical school curriculum at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), I immediately knew the benefit of a flipped classroom, where students study content through independent learning and then in a group setting. This structure allows you the freedom to tackle the material at your own pace and to go into face-to-face sessions with intention, prepared with questions, and able to apply the newly gained knowledge productively with your classmates and faculty. However, what truly solidified my interest in the College of Medicine were the people. At Accepted Students Day, I met some of the greatest people – a few of whom have been my best friends throughout my journey here – and this spoke volumes about Drexel. In addition to an outstanding faculty and staff, the College of Medicine selects extraordinary people to make up its student body.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?

I grew up outside Langley Air Force Base in Yorktown, Virginia and did my undergrad at the University of Virginia (UVA). At UVA, I was on an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, but had to go a different direction after I tore my right ACL for the third time during my junior year. I took some time off after graduating from UVA in 2016 to recalibrate, allow my knee to heal, and figure out what career path I wanted to pursue (both from a military perspective and a health care perspective). I then went on to do the two-year Medical Master’s Program at EVMS in Norfolk, Virginia, where I took first-year medical school and master’s in public health courses, shadowed physicians, and became heavily involved with the community through local service programs and EVMS student government.

After graduating from EVMS in 2018, I started applying to medical schools and relocated to Richmond, Virginia, to serve as an emergency medicine scribe in the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. My time between undergrad and entering the College of Medicine here at Drexel allowed me the opportunity to gain experience in the classroom and hospital. It also provided me the time to heal and become physically fit to serve in military medicine and qualify for the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

You participated in a Military Match. How does that process work, and where will you go for residency?

It is similar to the civilian match process but takes place a couple months earlier. During the July and August of my fourth year in medical school, I spent a month doing an “audition rotation” at two programs I was interested in. Students spend that rotation time getting to know a program and the surrounding area, as well as allowing the program to get to know us both personally and professionally. Applications for the Military Match are due in mid-October, so the month of September is a time to interview other military programs as well as finalize personal statements, letters of recommendation and other required documents. Depending on the specialty, the military might not have training spots in a military residency program. In that case, students have the opportunity to go through the same match process as our civilian counterparts.

All HPSP students hear in early December whether they have matched into a military residency program, can enter the civilian match process or have to take a transitional year. This May, I am headed to the family medicine residency at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What drew you to military medicine and service?

I come from a military family and grew up in a military community, so I was always drawn to service and emulating the level of strength, selflessness and sacrifice I saw in my dad and brother. The privilege of serving as a physician also carries an inherent level of that strength, selflessness and sacrifice, so entering military medicine seemed like a perfect fit for me. Ultimately, I am driven by the honor to be able to take care of this country’s service members as well as their families and loved ones.

What influenced your choice to specialize in family medicine?

I am tremendously excited to serve as a family medicine physician in the United States Air Force. When I entered medical school, I had no idea what I wanted to do and honestly, I could’ve said at that point I had interest in almost everything besides primary care. However, during my first year, my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Her diagnosis, battle, rapid deterioration and passing a few weeks ago have been a collection of the most earth-shattering moments of my life. However, through her health care journey, I discovered meaning and fulfillment in primary care. This experience with my family has helped me deepen my empathy and become a more compassionate and patient person. It has taught me so many lessons: in being there for others, in listening, in seeing that sometimes patients are not seeking solutions but instead looking for connection. I am blessed through my life experiences to be able to offer that level of connection and help make an impact in primary care.

What organizations, extracurriculars, research or community service experiences have you been involved in at Drexel? How have they impacted your experience here?

The cornerstone of my time at Drexel has been my involvement in the Student Government Association (SGA). I have had the honor of serving alongside some of the most incredible student leaders throughout my four years, helping navigate through changes during a pandemic, an expansion to West Reading, and a future campus move to West Philadelphia. My roles in SGA and military medicine, as well as my works as an academic coach, peer mentor, med scholar, and orientation leader, have allowed me to connect with the student body in advocacy, mentorship and wellness capacities. I was also involved with one of the Health Outreach Projects (HOP) here – the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center – which is one of Drexel’s incredible opportunities to connect clinically with the community in Philadelphia.

What are some of your favorite med school memories? What lessons have you learned here that you'll carry on into Residency?

The Monday of Match Week, March 13, 2023, will serve as a core memory for me. I was able to celebrate my closest friends and classmates as they discovered they had successfully matched. Throughout all the hardships of didactics during the start of the pandemic, as well as clinical rotations and interview season, this past Monday was a day of true joy and relief.

The importance of taking initiative in being there for others while also not being afraid to ask for help are two lessons I’ll take with me into residency and beyond. Medicine is hard. But we can get through it through leaning on the support systems we’ve built before and during each step of this process.

What advice would you give to current medical students who are interested in military medicine or are considering the Military Match process?

I would say please don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone involved in HPSP! While some information regarding military medicine has been compiled into written documents, a great deal of this information is shared through word of mouth. There is an advantage to asking fourth-year students, as we have been through it all – officer training, scheduling audition rotations, Match, financial reimbursements, etc. – and will most likely be able to answer questions you have about the process for each branch of service, or at least point you in the right direction.

How are you feeling ahead of Match Day? What are you looking forward to about the next step in your medical career?

I am incredibly excited to see where my friends and classmates end up on Match Day. It’s been a long journey for everyone, so it’s truly fulfilling for me to see their joy and celebrate their successes. As far as the next steps in my medical career, while I am greatly looking forward to starting my medical training, I honestly cannot wait for Commencement and to take in every moment of this long-awaited accomplishment alongside my family, friends and loved ones.

Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
60 N. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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