In the midst of a global pandemic, students from the class of 2020 celebrated one of the most exciting days in their professional journey—match day. Here they share their personal match story, what has inspired them along the way and what advice they would give to students starting the journey today.
My name is Bryan Akpuaka. I am a fourth-year medical student in PCOM's Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Class of 2020.
I was inspired to go into medicine by my experience living in West Africa. Ethnically, I'm part of the Igbo tribe and right before college, I spent six consecutive years living in Southern Nigeria. Over that time, I learned a great deal about the country, customs, languages and the unique challenges that come with being in a populous, developing, highly-diverse nation, not the least of which is healthcare. My family members work in various health professions and with their encouragement, I decided to pursue my goal of becoming the first physician in the family. I hope to have a larger positive impact on whatever community I find myself in, especially among the medically underserved.
I matched in physical medicine and rehabilitation, also known as physiatry or abbreviated as PM&R, at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Maryland.
I developed an interest in human anatomy, our musculoskeletal and nervous systems while studying at Prince George's Community College and transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park to major in biology. I then chose osteopathic medicine because of it's combined physiologic, biomechanical, kinesthetic approach to overall health and a philosophy of total wellness that resonated with me. Finally, I chose PM&R as a specialty to allow me to serve my patients and my community in the way that best suits me. As a physiatrist, my goal will be optimizing the quality of life and neuromuscular function of my patients in everyday life or during recovery from illness, surgery, and injury, which is especially important in our aging society.
I have spent a good amount of time living abroad and in Philadelphia. Yet, I call Maryland home as I've spent most of my life there. Matching at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore for one of two physiatry programs in my home state left me feeling excited, to say the least, because I will train around my support system while being able to serve a community I owe so much.
The advice I would give to first-year medical students starting their journey is to appreciate every step of it. There is so much personal and professional growth that occurs during this process and reflection along the way will make you the best physicians, while giving you the ability to pay lessons forward.
It's hard to pick one fond medical school memory to mention, but I won't forget being instructed by my attending to perform the canalith repositioning procedure on a patient with vertigo ... in a gynecology clinic.