I am originally from Westchester, NY, but few people can guess by my (presumably) well-hidden accent that I actually grew up on a small island in the Caribbean, St. Maarten. I moved back to the U.S. as a teenager, attending Duke University as an undergraduate (yes, I still root for the Blue Devils!), and Meharry Medical College in Nashville for medical school. But much of my family still lives in St. Maarten.
On September 6, 2017, the eye of Hurricane Irma — a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of over 185 MPH — tore through St. Maarten and its neighboring islands. St. Maarten was devastated. The weeks following Irma were incredibly tough, because we couldn’t get in contact with family members there. Thankfully, as it turns out, they were all safe. But many people I care about on the island suffered significant damage, or even lost their homes or businesses completely. The rebuilding process will be long and difficult, but anyone can help! Please consider supporting the cause: http://www.rebuildsxm.com.
Why medicine? Why gastroenterology?
I was infatuated with science when I was young, and knew I wanted a career that incorporated some aspect of science into my everyday life. I also enjoy helping, working with and meeting new people, so medicine felt like the perfect marriage of science and sociability. Gastroenterology is a dynamic field with a diversity of subject matter and clinical presentations; there’s almost always something exciting going on. In my clinical work, no two days are ever the same; I get to do procedures, work closely with critical care teams in ICUs, and have meaningful continuity with my patients in the outpatient setting. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
What opportunities have you had here at UVA? What has your fellowship experience been like?
As a resident at UVA, I fell in love with DOM’s GI division. The faculty, fellows and staff were phenomenal to work with during residency, and that experience has only been confirmed as I’ve gotten to work with people in the division on a day-to-day basis. As trainees, we get well-balanced exposure to the different branches of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and are mentored by world-renowned experts who are also down-to-earth and fun to be around.
What are you usually doing in your spare time?
I love to travel, so I am always planning my next excursion to somewhere new. When I’m not on the road, I am usually Facetiming my mom and dad, watching live music, hiking with my dog Blue, or exploring new restaurants. Once upon a time, I was a bookworm; I’m trying to get back into reading for leisure.
What’s one thing you always have in your fridge?
Where did you go on your last vacation?
A family trip to St. Lucia, earlier this year. It was a lot of fun.
What about you would surprise us?
I am terrified of public speaking, but I love being on stage! I performed in plays and musical theater throughout high school and college.
Words to live by?
Even if the ‘why’ isn’t immediately obvious, everything happens for a reason.
Filed Under: Fellow Profiles