Alissa Galgano (DO ‘22) | Medical Student | Match Day 2022
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Alissa Galgano (DO '22) 
Match Day 2022

March 18, 2022

Students from the class of 2022 are celebrating the next step in their professional journey. Here they share what has inspired them along the way and what advice they would give to new students.

Non-traditional med student Alissa Galgano (DO '22) shares how she matched in OB/GYN at Walter Reed National Military Medical CenterWhere did you match?

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

What specialty did you match into and why did you choose this?

I matched Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center! I knew early on that I wanted to pursue a specialty that was very dynamic and hands-on. My OB/GYN rotation was my first clinical clerkship experience and without question the most rewarding. I was able to expand my knowledge of female reproductive anatomy and physiology, but most importantly, I was able to be an advocate for women’s health.

OB/GYN is the best fit for me because it has allowed me to build relationships in the clinic, provide continuity of care from conception to delivery and hone my surgical skills in the operating room. I felt I thrived in these environments while navigating the unique challenges of women’s healthcare. As a member of the United States Army, I have the privilege of caring for our Military’s greatest assets, our servicemen and women and their families. I am thrilled that I will be training at an institution that not only provides expert care to our Nation’s Military but one that has a strong tradition in building leaders in research and medicine.

How did you feel when you found out you had matched?

Anyone going through this process will tell you that it is a rollercoaster of emotions! When I found out I matched at my top program, I was equally stunned and relieved. It is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice that starts long before you walk onto the PCOM campus. To say I was thrilled is an understatement! I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity.

What inspired you to pursue medicine?

Unlike many of my classmates, I was a non-traditional student with a strong desire to attend art school. I always enjoyed working with my hands and the endless possibilities I could create with just a pencil and paper. My initial interest in medicine began during my first figure drawing class. I found it daunting to translate the human figure to paper and my teacher suggested that I study anatomy to better understand the skeletal and muscular framework underneath the skin. I spent my remaining classes mentally dissecting the human figure and developed a method where slight nuances of light, shape and line helped me to capture these complexities. This was my first and very transformative introduction to anatomy that sparked my deep curiosity for the human body and the means and methods of its function. More importantly, this fascination lent a new dimension to my avocation as an artist and gave purpose to my abiding interest in medicine. Throughout medical school I have come to realize that my passion for medicine does not mean I have to sacrifice my passion for art; rather, my success as a physician is reliant on my ability to adapt this interwoven relationship.

Additionally, prior to starting medical school, I was a Clinical Research Coordinator at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I was fortunate to be a member of an interdisciplinary team that adapts discoveries in the laboratory to significant clinical outcomes. I enjoyed working closely with physicians and admired their investigative role in both the clinic and the lab. There I was introduced to personalized medicine and its ability to change the lives of those afflicted by such diseases where generalized therapies are typically insufficient. This blend of scientific innovation and creativity inspired me to pursue medicine and solidified my career goals to pursue clinical research as a physician.

What advice would you give to a first year student starting their journey?

Ask for help! I would not have been able to succeed in this environment without the support of my family, my professors and the incredible, lifelong friendships I made during my time at PCOM. Everyone’s recipe for success looks different and finding a balance that works for you is half of the battle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when something isn’t working for you and don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Remind yourself of the obstacles you’ve already overcome and surround yourself with people and mentors who can assist you with the challenges you’ll inevitably face.

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