Hometown: Port-au-Prince, Haïti is my hometown but I have been living in Miami, FL since 2005
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Florida International University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major
Name of School of Public Health: University of Miami, Master of Public Health
Name of Medical School: FIU-Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “ Success is falling 9 times and getting up ten.” – Jon Bon Jovi
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am a second-year medical student at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. I chose medicine because I want to dedicate my life to the service of others by providing health care to all in need, regardless of their socio-economic status. My goal is to be a socially accountable physician offering health care to people in a holistic manner, taking into consideration the external factors that impact health. By promoting health, preventing disease and curing health conditions, I find that I will be of most use to my community and to society as a whole.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
The path to success in medicine requires sacrifices, determination, perseverance and dedication. Although many of the choices you will have to make will be difficult, rest assured that it will pay off. Form a strong foundation in the core sciences for you to build upon throughout your career. A weak foundation will only bring more challenges that could be avoided. Seek the help and guidance of those who have already walked the path that you are walking towards; their advice will only benefit you, learn from them. Create a support system upon which you can rely and study habits that are healthy and effective. Above all, take care of yourself.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
I commend and applaud anyone who is interested in the honorable field of medicine, because you are making a decision to dedicate your life to the service of others. Before embarking in this path, make sure that you are choosing this field for the right reasons because times will come when challenges might make you question your choice. The road to medicine will be both rewarding and challenging. You will face obstacles of different kinds, but you will also feel the incomparable joy of helping others, often during their most vulnerable moments. You will be the source of strength for many and a leader for your team. Nourish the empathy and compassion that you have within you, for those qualities are of utmost importance in this field. Find it within yourself to persevere during even when the barriers seem insurmountable. Find a mentor, seek for advice and achieve your goal. Do not let anyone tell you that this is not for you. If I can do it, so can you!
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
Getting an acceptance to medical school was one of my biggest challenges for I was not the most competitive applicant, nor did I apply on a timely manner. I had to find the strength within myself to go through the process more than once even after having received numerous rejection letters. Thanks to the support of my family and with dedication to my dream, I faced that challenge ready to overcome any barrier I would face. I began by objectively analyzing the areas where I could improve and shamelessly asked for help. I can tell you that there were moments when I considered choosing a different path, but I did not. With perseverance and resilience, I took the necessary measures to make myself more competitive. I enrolled in the Master’s of Public Health program at the University of Miami, retook my MCAT and successfully reapplied. The road was difficult and often I wondered if this was my destiny. But by the grace of God I am now where I always dreamed to be. Perseverance, dedication, and discipline will help you achieve your dreams.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine trains students to become socially accountable physicians prepared to provide holistic health care to people mindful of the social, cultural and economic factors that impact their health. The environment at HWCOM fosters inclusion and promotes diversity. The sense of communality through our Panther Learning communities, wellness program, our caring Deans, faculty and staff, the running club and more create a safe environment where students are encouraged to take care of themselves while learning about how to take care of others. More importantly, our academic training offers us early training in patient care through primary care rotations starting the first month of medical school. In second year, we work in inter-professional teams including nursing and social work students to care for less fortunate households within South Florida by bringing healthcare to those who are not able to afford it. Finally, we have been receiving training for the STEP exams since the first year by taking NBME exams at the end of each block. The small examples I just listed do not do justice to our integrated curriculum, which include public health classes to assure that we know how to best treat individuals and their families.
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
I earned a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Miami. It is there that I developed the critical thinking and leadership skills that I believe are instrumental in medicine. During my time as an MPH candidate, I learned about the true definition of health; that of total mental, physical and emotional stability together with the absence of disease and infirmities. I had fantastic mentors/professors who fostered my personal and professional growth, and classmates who made my experience unforgettable. I had the opportunity to travel to my country and conduct my research project on HPV and cervical cancer. I had the chance to educate the South Miami population via the DOCS health fairs and better see how medicine and public health work synergistically. I also learned about the importance of education and prevention in promoting the health of not only individuals but also communities. More importantly, I graduated from the program ready to be a physician who will not only treat the disease of patients but also promote healthy living in their lives and their communities.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
Start early. Take a few days, together with a mentor or an advisor, to plan ahead. There are many resources available to assist students in this pricey and stressful process. Ask for help, it is only a sign of strength. If the outcome is not that of which you wanted, face your situation, analyze the problem objectively and try again. Giving up should NEVER be an option.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
I took 1 year off after graduating from my bachelor’s degree and did research. I was a Research Assistant at the FIU Marine Biology Research Lab. I had the opportunity to learn how to do applied research, partake in discussions and present a poster at a symposium. This was my first exposure to research but also the first one that fueled my inquisitive mind to be a contributor to science.
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
The challenge was the volume of information provided on a daily basis. The material itself is not always necessarily hard, but I had difficulties adjusting to the pace. Patient interaction and education was the easiest part for me.
How have you been able to deal with your romantic relationship and medical school at the same time?
I did and do not have this challenge because I started medical school single and currently am. But many of my classmates who are in a relationships or married manage their time to included their loved ones.
In regards to dating, what kind of qualities are you looking for in someone?
A family-centered man with integrity, respect for himself and others, fun and easy-going. A caring individual who understands the requirements that the field of medicine is asking of me and who is also working towards his dreams. A person who appreciates the simple things in life and just wants to live simply and happily.
What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?
I traveled, slept a lot, went to museums, watched movies, and tried new foods. More importantly, I chatted with my cousin and other students who were in their 2nd year of medical school at the time to ask for advice so that I was not embarking in the process blind.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
I pray a lot, it is where I find my strength. I use the wellness services offered at FIU-HWCOM that includes aromatherapy and yoga; those services are convenient as they are only for medical students and not attached to the college of medicine. I try to exercise as often as I can and seek support from my family, and from those who have my best interests in mind.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
- Medical Student Ambassador
- President of Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
- AAMC Office of Student Representatives for HWCOM
- M2 MedLead Chair
What is it like attending school in your city?
It is fantastic. I have been living in Miami since 2005 and have not left since. It great to be able to come home to my family after long hours of studying. Also, it gives me a sense of completion; the health care facilities where I received care as a teenager, dreamed to work in as a high-school student, and volunteered as a college student, I am now rotating in as a medical student. Also, through the health fairs put together by the FIU-MedSWISH program, I am now able to give back to my community. Also as a Caribbean girl, I enjoy the weather in Miami and the cultural diversity present within our cities.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in medical school?
In college, because I did not seek advice from pre-health advisors and did not have a mentor, I made the mistake of not being involved in extra-curricular activities. This choice did not play in my favor and partly contributed to my unsuccessful applications. I redeemed myself while completing my Master’s of Public Health degree. I wore many hats :
- I was one of the two presidents of the Public Health Student Association (PHSA),
- Director of Cooking Canes, the nutrition education program at Booker T. Washington High School
- Program Ambassador for the Public Health Department
- Teaching Assistant
- Clinical Research Coordinator: Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity
- Graduate Assistant: Department of Prevention Sciences
My involvement was rewarded as I won the Graduate Award of Excellence, recognizing one graduate student who displays passion for service and leadership. It was my absolute honor to be on the receiving end of this award.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
I listen to all types of music, but I am mostly fond of Haitian Compas music, my favorite bands being Klass, Carimi, Harmonik, Alan Cave, and others. I also enjoying listening to Chansonette Francaise, specifically Charles Azanavour and Ginette Reno. I also like Jazz, Reggae, Country music, Rap and RnB.
Wow, this is absolutely fantastic Daphney! You’ve shared SO much with us and because of that, we are able to learn so many critical lessons from your story! You are very highly appreciated! Because of your willingness to help out with this initiative by completing this feature, someone is reading this right now with deep gratitude towards you and is being positively influenced by your wisdom! Thank you sooo much!!
Posted on July 5th, 2017