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Successful Applicants—M.D./MPH

Successful Applicants to M.D./MPH Programs

Success Stories by Year of Matriculation



2023 Matriculants


Headshot: Christopher Chino-Marin

Name: Christopher Chino-Marin
Major: Music
Overall GPA: 3.67
Graduation Year: 2020
Matriculation Year: 2023

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: SUNY Downstate College of Medicine

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A:

  • My love for learning, science, health, and autonomy.
  • The constant effort to learn and improve, and regular problem-solving required by this field
  • The opportunity to foster strong interpersonal relationships with patients

 

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: NCAA Hunter Fencing, VP for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Hunter Choir, construction/landscaping/painting jobs, catering, surgical concierge at Westchester Medical Center, translator (Spanish/English) in the Dominican Republic for primary care physicians and surgeons (VHP), medical assistant in the Dominican Republic for ophthalmologists and dermatologists (VHP), outreach manager for CCHDR, researcher and data clerk for MediRootz, research assistant for SCRI.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 10-15 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took a gap year to work on my medical school application, study for the MCAT, attain more clinical experience, and work. And I took another gap year after that to complete an MPH at Suny Downstate School of Public Health.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Diverse interests, diverse experiences, many hours of clinical experience, and a personal statement that tells a story

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A:

  • Provided consistent advising and guidance throughout my undergraduate years
  • Provided many opportunities to gain exposure to different health professions, healthcare providers, and schools/programs
  • Kept me on track with my courses and other requirements
  • Advocated for me to my professors, medical schools, and potential employers and volunteer organizations

 

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A:

  • Make sure college is a broadly fulfilling experience; do things you like, keep your hobbies/passions alive, have fun!
  • Build active studying habits
  • Create a strong network of supportive friends and good role models/mentors
  • Be your #1 supporter/cheerleader

 


2022 Matriculants


Headshot: Infunanya Ojei

Name: Ifunanya Ojei
Major: Biology
Overall GPA: 3.70
Graduation Year: 2020
Matriculation Year: 2022

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: SUNY Downstate College of Medicine

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I am very passionate and enthusiastic about serving my community through a career in medicine because not only do I have the opportunity to help improve the lifestyles of underserved communities and to provided greater access to care, as a physician and a public health professional, I hope to participate actively in improving the quality of health care and also health equity among underserved communities such as mine.

I also am privileged to have the opportunity to remove the stigma of the supposed “impossibility” of people of color to become physicians. Going to school in the Bronx, I met students and even teachers who decided not to become a physician simply because they didn't believe they would be able to make it that far for different reasons. Some were financial and others were that they didn't believe they were “smart enough” or they didn't think it was for them. I also noticed that these mindsets had been reinforced and encouraged among people of color through their advisors in school or their family members.

As a physician, I hope to contribute to renewing the positive mindsets of children and young adults who just don't see themselves as physicians even though they are passionate about the field.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I volunteered at a nursing home in Brooklyn, tutored organic chemistry at Hunter College, volunteered with New York Cares, and performed research in Dr. Rockwell's lab at Hunter. I also co-hosted MCAT study groups through the Pre-Health Advising Office at Hunter. I am also a Youth leader of the Anglican Church of the Pentecost.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: On average, per course, I would study about 3-4 hrs including assignments, labs and office hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: The EME program provided a test prep course (Kaplan and Testing Solutions for CARS).

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I took 1 gap year to study for my MCAT.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I believe my application showed determination because I had some setbacks, which helped me to discover certain aspects about myself, such as how I best learn. My resilience and ability to overcome my setbacks put me in a better position to study efficiently for the later classes I took and also for the MCAT.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office helped me immensely in my pursuit of medicine by guiding me throughout my pre-medical journey. They also provided me with volunteering and shadowing opportunities that helped to improve my application portfolio. Most importantly, the office served as a valuable support system during my MCAT study and application journey.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: One piece of advice that I have for others is that it never hurts to ask for help. It takes humility to learn, which begins by admitting what you don't know and asking for help. The proof of passion is pursuit, and so I would also advise others to be consistent and persistent. Define your goal clearly and pursue it.


2020 Matriculants


Headshot: Rawlica Sumner

Name: Rawlica Sumner
Major: Human Biology & Special Honors
Overall GPA: 3.82
Graduation Year: 2020
Matriculation Year: 2020

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: SUNY Downstate College of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: My experiences volunteering with underserved populations in Brooklyn, Queens and different parts of Manhattan allowed me to connect with patients in healthcare settings, listen to their stories, and understand their struggles beyond simply focusing on their medical conditions. I also loved the fact that patient care done well puts an emphasis on teamwork. I admire that while the doctor's role is to be the head of the team, it's simply for the purpose of leading the team effectively to ensure that the patient receives the best experience possible.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A:

  1. Presbyterian Senior Services Youth Services Tutor
  2. Manhattan Veteran Affairs Emergency Department Volunteer
  3. National Associations of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (AHHE) Mentorship Program
  4. Weill Cornell CTSC Heart-to-Heart Program
  5. Pre-Health Mentoring Initiative (PHMI)
  6. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
  7. A.O.G. Girls Ministry
  8. Single Ministry and Children's Church Teacher
  9. Memorial Sloan Kettering Microbiology Lab
  10. SCORE Program
  11. Mount Sinai Research Associate Program

 

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I studied 11 weeks in total during the summer. My studies were split approximately 60 hours per week during the first 6 weeks of the semester and approximately 40 hours per week during the last 5 weeks.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Mostly Kaplan for both content and practice questions. I also used ExamKrackers and The Next Step's practice questions.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No, the completion of the EME program will allow me to start medical school the summer after I graduate.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My entire application had experiences that reflected mhy interests and fit the narrative I used in my essay for the EME program. In addition to clinical research, clinical volunteering, and community volunteering, at the time of my application I had already done at least 1 year of wet-lab research at a well-known institute where I had complet3ed a summer research program as well. My application showed that I was able to balance work, school and personal activities as I included multiple jobs, scholar programs and extracurricular activities I participated in while in college.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: The EME program was an early acceptance program, therefore, I did not apply nationallly.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office was supporting me even before my first day of classes. In addition to laying out everything I needed to do in order to succeed, they gave me advice, helped me apply for summer/scholar programs and truly helped me hold it together when I felt like everything was falling apart. I wouldn't have made it into SUNY Downstate without them let alone been able to experience some of my best college memories. They acted as a pillar in my success.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: It's great to be hardworking and determined to accomplish your goals, but don't pretend to be "all in" for something you are not passionate about. If you have the passion and you're willing to put in the work, that's wonderful! However, don't let the pre-health path become your life. You need hobbies and interests outside of research, volunteering and studying, not just for your own sanity but because you as an individual are much more than your academics. There will be periods of time where you need to be heavily focused on the books but there will also be times where you can relax and just be with friends and family. Take your studying for MCAT seriously the first time. The goal is for the first time to be your last time! It was a rewarding experience but it's not something I would willingly do again.

As you complete your undergraduate coursework, don't try to rush through your days and years for the sake of finishing because you're dedicating your life to become a lifelong learner both inside and outside of the classroom. It's a lot of hard work, but if you take it one step at a time, it's worth it!



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