Major: Health Science
Minor: Public Health
Hometown: Seminole, FL
What interests you most about public health?
I think I am most fascinated with the idea that you can control individual health, to an extent, by managing population health. Because I am aspiring to become a physician, individual health has always been at the forefront of my education; however, I made the choice to minor in Public Health because physicians need to be aware of the legal policies, educational programs, and epidemiological research that impacts and promotes health in our everyday lives. I believe that one of the biggest issues that public health can address is health disparities. Physicians need to be aware of how larger, external factors such as the culture and environment can affect their patients’ lived experiences of health. When one understands how health is a concept of public nature rather than simply being of personal nature, we have the ability to be better physicians and advocates for our patients and their communities.
What would you like to do in the future?
I am becoming increasingly passionate about going into primary care. In today’s culture of rampant health disparities and the increasing shortage of physicians in under-served and rural areas, I believe it would be one of the most fulfilling professions to be a primary care physician. I would have the opportunity to develop personal and meaningful relationships that may last a lifetime. I could even have the privilege of being the “family doctor”, providing care not only to the patient but also to their loved ones. Because my biggest career goal is to become a physician who goes beyond what is normally required of the profession, walking alongside my patients through both the happiest and saddest of times, I believe primary care provides the best way to fulfill that dream.
Why did you choose UF?
UF was always my number one school growing up. Though I never grew up watching Gator Football and don’t even have any family members who graduated from UF, I knew that becoming a Gator would push me to achieve the highest standards possible. I also knew that UF was one of the most difficult colleges to be admitted to, which in itself is a testament to the high-achieving student body that UF prides itself in. After doing research on several colleges and touring other universities, nothing came close to the passion, mission, community, and vast opportunities that UF offered to me as a future pre-medical student. The last 4 years have provided me with invaluable experiences, incredible staff and mentors, a caring pre-med community, and amazing clinical exposure. I can say without a doubt that becoming a Gator is something I will never regret.
What did you think of “public health” prior to starting your course work?
Public health used to be a field that I never thought pertained to me as a future health professional. I was under the assumption that it was all legislation and policy, aspects of health that I wouldn’t have to deal with in the future. Turns out, having a good understanding of public health is incredibly beneficial for physicians because it provides more background for delivering the most efficient and holistic treatment for patients. My courses in public health showed me how health is much more than biological mechanisms and pathology- health is dramatically affected by several outside factors such as inequality, poverty, and education. Now I understand that I don’t have to be a health administrator to make a difference. As a future physician, I can take steps to minimize these disparities by being more culturally competent and viewing my patients’ condition through the holistic lens of public health.
What do you do in your free time?
If I ever get the chance to relax from my studies, I like to go explore nature trails or go hammocking with friends. I also regularly try to make time to exercise at the gym, and I especially enjoy participating in group fitness classes. Sometimes if I have more free time on my hands, I like to do wood-burning art and canvas paintings. But because I am not always in an artistic mood, my go-to pastime would most likely be spending hours chatting with my family on FaceTime, in which we easily lose track of time as we dramatically narrate entertaining stories about how our day went. With regards to my extracurricular activities, I can usually be found participating in events for either AMSA or Cru. Being involved in these amazing organizations give me the fresh air and community that I often need amidst the rigorous pre-medical curriculum.
What experience at UF has been most influential?
Being a part of UF Premed AMSA has undoubtedly given me the most meaningful and preparatory experiences for becoming a physician. AMSA is where I met some of the brightest and kindest people who not only helped me solidify my passion for the medical field but have also walked alongside me through both the mountains and valleys of the pre-medical journey. Additionally, I have had the privilege of being a medical director for the Health Outreach & Education Committee for the last 2 years, which has allowed me to truly get involved in public health by serving the community through hands-on experience. Because outreach is the main purpose of the committee, our main events include holding Vitals Workshops, serving the homeless at Project Downtown, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at Harbor Chase Assisted Living Facility, and holding a Research Symposium where students can present their research and educate others about important health topics. My involvement in AMSA allowed me to further strengthen my interest in medicine, serve the community in diverse ways, gain appreciation for the importance of public health, and grow closer to like-minded people who share similar passions.
Do you have any interesting or unique facts about yourself?
I was classically trained in playing piano for 12 years, I am a second-degree black belt in Choi Kwang Do, I enjoy playing tennis, I have traveled to the Philippines and China, and I love to sing (never missed a year of chorus in grade school!). My passion for music is reflected by my involvement in Cru, a Christian ministry organization, in which I am a vocalist for the worship band. Additionally, due to my membership in the UF Honors College, I had the privilege to be the pianist in the Honors Ensemble for 3 semesters. Some other fun facts about me include taking group fitness classes at the gym, going on impromptu trips to the springs, and my sister and I have a YouTube channel through which we perform piano/duet covers. However, my number one hobby, without a doubt, is spending time with my family. My father, mother, sister and I do everything together—from earning our black belts together to having guitar/piano jam-out sessions at home—we always prefer to do things together as a family.