Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Undergraduate: BS in Neuroscience - University of Michigan
Graduate: MD/MS - Drexel University College of Medicine
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?
I was born in Chile but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I also went to the University of Michigan and completed my BS in neuroscience. Throughout college I worked as a paralegal at a medical malpractice office and continued to work there in my gap year between undergrad and Drexel. It gave me some great insight into the world of litigation in the medical field.
What drew you to the MD/MS dual degree program, and to Drexel, specifically?
The MD/MS program allowed me to expand my research experience while at the same time having the freedom to explore my desired areas of interest. Drexel particularly interested me since Philadelphia is such a medically relevant city. On top of that, the connections that Drexel provided gave me the opportunity to pursue any specialty or field of interest that I wanted.
What did a typical day in your program look like? What is something unique about your experience in the program?
My days varied quite a bit depending on exactly what projects I was working on. I could be going through medical records and getting patient information, going to the operating room or interventional neuroradiology suite to assist in procedures. Sometimes I would be meeting with members of the Jefferson College of Population Health to work on statistical analysis as well as some of the mapping projects on ArcGIS. I also performed bedside procedures such as placing implantable loop recorders on suspected stroke patients.
I think the most unique aspect of my experience was that I was able to get out of it as much as I wanted to from both a clinical and research point of view. I certainly owe that to my mentors as they gave me a tremendous amount of guidance and freedom to pursue the activities I was most interested in.
What research have you been working on during your program?
I have been working in the endovascular neurosurgical department at Jefferson. A focus has been the use of mechanical thrombectomy for the treatment of stroke. I have also helped develop a mapping system of all certified stroke centers in the country to identify regions that lack timely access to the appropriate level of care. We have partnered with the Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology (SVIN) to continue to develop this program and see how we can implement it to produce meaningful changes in patient care.
What have you been doing since you completed the program? How did your time here prepare you for the next steps?
I am still working with the department, but also planning on moving back to Michigan, where I will be starting my surgery residency at Wayne State Detroit Medical Center. My fiancé and I are also in the process of planning our wedding, so my plate is pretty full at the moment.
What advice would you give incoming students in your Drexel program?
I think the best advice is to not be afraid to put yourself out there or try something new. Some of the greatest experiences I have had, as well as connections I have developed, evolved from moments where I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something I wouldn’t usually do.