Alumni Profiles

alumni profiles

Alumni Rohan Manocha

 

Dr. Rohan Manocha, M.D.

Class of 2017

 

Residency in family  Medicine

University of Toronto

UMHS Class of 2017 graduate Dr. Rohan Manocha starts his residency in Family Medicine at University of Toronto – Downtown this summer and he is pleased to be returning to the Toronto area. Dr. Manocha grew up in nearby Richmond Hill and studied Kinesiology at Western University in London, Ontario. An avid Toronto sports fan, Dr. Manocha realized he had a passion for medicine while taking anatomy and physiology courses as an undergrad and volunteering his time at the local hospital in his hometown of Richmond Hill.  


Dr. Manocha enjoys time with his family, something he likely had little time for during his journey through medical school at UMHS. The UMHS Endeavour recently spoke to Dr. Manocha about why he chose UMHS and how it specifically helped him land a prestigious residency back in his Canadian homeland. He also shared advice on how to get high scores on the USMLE exams and make the most of the residency Match process.

 

“UMHS provided an avenue for me to fulfill my career goal of becoming a practicing physician in Canada.”

 

Alumni Kirsten Fill

 

Dr. Kirsten Fill, M.D.

Class of 2017

Residency in Anesthesiology

Drexel University

  

UMHS Class of 2017 graduate Dr. Kirsten Fill didn’t always plan on becoming a doctor. The Ontario, Canada native studied biomedical engineering at Queens University and started a corporate job after graduation, but decided she wanted something more rewarding. She decided to pursue the passion for medicine she developed as an undergraduate.

 

Dr. Fill took time from her busy schedule to talk to the UMHS Endeavour about her experiences at UMHS and why she was initially so impressed by the cadaver lab, high-tech classrooms and fun social activities in St. Kitts, the extensive Step 1 preparation at the Portland, Maine campus and her invaluable experiences in clinical rotations, and how she successfully made it through the Match process. Dr. Fill starts her Anesthesiology residency at Drexel University at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia this summer.

 

UMHS: What was the greatest thing about learning you matched?

 

“My heart rate normalizing. Then realizing it was in the specialty and hospital I wanted”

 

 

 Alumni Nick Kessener

 

Dr. Nick Kessener, M.D.


CLASS OF 2017


Residency in Pediatrics

Illinois St. Francis Medical 

Center & Children’s Hospital of Illinois

 

UMHS Class of 2017 graduate Dr. Nick Kessener applied to several Caribbean medical schools and was accepted by all, but it was the personalized, polite attention he received at UMHS that helped him decide to start his medical journey at the state-of-the-art campus in St. Kitts. He also liked the fact that UMHS has affordable tuition and is run by the Ross family, with their years of experience helping IMGs from the U.S. and Canada achieve countless goals in the Caribbean and later back in North America.

 

Dr. Kessener had a strong medical background before attending med school. He previously worked in Nuclear Medicine doing stress tests for a cardiology group in Colorado before he decided to go for his M.D. He starts his residency in summer 2017 in the combined Medicine/Pediatrics program at the University of Illinois St. Francis Medical Center, and part of his time at Children’s Hospital of Illinois, south of Chicago. Besides landing such a prestigious residency, Dr. Kessener says he’s pleased that finally he, his wife and children will all be able to live in the same place for at least four years. The UMHS Endeavour caught up with this busy young doctor to talk about his experiences at UMHS, his advice for med students going through the Match process, his goals for residency, and more.

 

“My study at UMHS helped prepare me well for the matching process in terms of further development of interpersonal skills. With the diversity found at UMHS, both in its student body and in clinical rotations, you get to work with many people from many different backgrounds.”

 

 

 Alumni Sarhad Najor

 

Dr. Sarhad Najor, M.D.


CLASS OF 2017


Residency in Internal Medicine Pediatrics

Hurley Medical Center

 

Dr. Sarhad Najor started his residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan this summer. It has been a long road to residency indeed for Dr. Najor, who spent the past 17 years in Michigan but was born in Iraq.

 

We caught up with this young doctor to talk about why he found the small class sizes at UMHS helpful and his confidence in the Ross family’s excellent track record in medical education. We also discussed why he decided on a Med/Peds residency, his tips for making the most out of the Match process, and why he feels the time he spent at UMHS constituted the “best four years” of his life.

 

“Because of Dr. Ross and Mr. Warren Ross’ background, I had great faith in attending UHMS. I knew they would move this medical school to the correct path based on their history with molding great medical schools.”

 

 

 Alumni Nichole Zuccarini

 

Dr. Nichole Zuccarini, M.D.


CLASS OF 2017


Residency in Internal Medicine

Detroit Medical Center-Sinai Grace Hospital

 

UMHS 2017 graduate Dr. Nichole Zuccarini’s interest in medicine started out with majoring in medical technology at Michigan State University and receiving a Bachelor’s of Science. She spent time after graduation working in a lab and in marketing and sales. She eventually wanted to become a doctor and chose UMHS because of the state-of-the-art facilities at the St. Kitts campus. She matched in Internal Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital in Michigan after doing an additional rotation there in late 2016. She is especially excited about her residency because she’ll be working with patients who have not had Primary Care before.

 

The UMHS Endeavour caught up with this busy young doctor to talk about her career, her goals for residency, her advice for medical students and the Match process, and how two departments at UMHS were especially helpful.

 

“I went to UMHS because of their Extended Basic Sciences Program and awesome school facilities in St. Kitts. As a result of a reduced course load in the Basic Science Program, I was able to excel academically.”

 

 

 alumni e nielsen

 

Elizabeth Nielsen, M.D.


CLASS OF 2016


Internal Medicine Resident

Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine and Affiliated Hospitals.

 

UMHS graduate Dr. Elizabeth Nielsen starts her Internal Medicine residency at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine and Affiliated Hospitals in summer 2016. It’s the result of lots of hard work for the Normal, Illinois native.


The state-of-the-art facilities at UMHS and the outstanding faculty made her education particularly memorable.

 

“I felt that UMHS was very clean, with great facilities, and welcoming when I came to visit the island several months before I started. I was most impressed with the ventilation and technology in the anatomy lab. It was also great to know that the professors were pretty easily
accessible during office hours.”

 

 

  Alumni Miriam Bernstein

Miriam Bernstein, M.D.


CLASS OF 2016


OB/GYN Resident

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center,

Baltimore, Maryland

 

 

UMHS graduate Dr. Miriam Bernstein wanted to be a doctor ever since she watched a TV series at age nine. Now, the New York State native’s dream has come true and she has landed an OB/GYN residency at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Attending UMHS helped Dr. Bernstein achieve that dream.
“The school's reputation and the natural beauty of St. Kitts weighed into my decision that it was a good fit for my goals. I also was attracted to the aspect of being a part of a newer school. I felt it would give me more of a chance to personalize my experience and be treated as an individual and not a number like at some larger schools.”

 

Dr. Bernstein says her experience at UMHS was invaluable.


“The professors on St. Kitts challenged me both personally and academically. Island life helped me become less rigid, more relaxed and allowed me to meet people from all over, including some that I now consider family. I was also fortunate enough to have an amazing set of preceptors in my clinical education that truly wanted to teach and share their knowledge as well as to push me to become a better doctor.”

 

Alumni Thivisa Rajagopal

 

Dr. Thivisa Rajagopal

Class of 2016

Residency in Family Medicine

Washington Health System

  

UMHS 2016 graduates Dr. Thivisa Rajagopal and husband Dr. Thushyanthan Pathmalingam both decided to attend UMHS when they had trouble getting into Canadian medical schools. Dr. Rajagopal immigrated to Canada from her native Sri Lanka at a young age and always wanted to be a doctor. Today that dream has become a reality as she and her husband recently started Family Medicine residencies at the Washington Health System in Pennsylvania.

 

Dr. Rajaogpal took time from her busy schedule to speak to the UMHS Endeavour to share her experiences about the school and what prospective students can expect at UMHS, from the great professors in Basic Sciences to clinical rotations to interviewing for a residency, and how she and her husband were so thrilled when they both matched at the same hospital.

  

“Every aspect of UMHS makes you become an independent, self-learning and brilliant doctor”

Alumni Kristin Biggie

 

 

Kristin Biggie, M.D.


Class of 2015


Pediatrics Resident

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida

 

Dr. Kristin Biggie started her residency in Pediatrics at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida in summer 2015.

 

The South Florida native says she is thrilled to be in her home state, allowing her to be close to family and friends. She will also serve fellow Floridians. We caught up with Dr. Biggie to discuss Pediatrics, her clinical rotations, advice on the match process, the advantages and disadvantages of being a Caribbean medical student, her goals for residency, and how UMHS faculty and staff helped her during her medical education.


"UMHS invests a lot of time and money in ensuring good step 1 scores for their students. This is a gift that all students should utilize. Exhaust your Step 1 resources because a strong Step 1 score will set you apart as a residency candidate."

 "There are many superb clinical rotations at UMHS. It is up to the student to seize the rotations that will work best in their future. If pediatrics is in your future, Sinai Hospital in Baltimore is the place to be."

 

Alumni AaronVasquez

 

AARON VAZQUEZ, M.D.

 

CLASS OF 2015

 

Psychiatry Resident
University Hospitals/Case Western University
Cleveland, Ohio

  

Dr. Vazquez is a strong advocate of getting published while still in medical school. Dr. Vazquez was one of the co-authors of an eating disorders study published in Psychotherapy Research in 2013, “Effects Of Providing Patient Progress Feedback And Clinical Support Tools To Psychotherapists In An Inpatient Eating Disorders Treatment Program: A Randomized Controlled Study.”

 

Dr. Vazquez admits he prefers “listening over speaking.” He told the UMHS Endeavour two years ago that he became interested in psychology and psychiatry because he has always been fascinated by human behavior. We caught up with Dr. Vazquez to talk about his upcoming residency. He discusses everything from being prepared for the match process to how one UMHS staff member was of particular help on the road to residency.


"THE MEDICAL EDUCATION AT UMHS WAS THE CATALYST THAT GAVE ME THE SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE TO BECOME A LEADING PHYSICIAN. I AM READY TO PURSUE ALL OF MY MEDICAL AMBITIONS" 

 

Alumni Christine Fetterolf

 

Christine Fetterolf. M.D.


Class of 2015


Family Medicine resident

Lehigh Valley Hospital Allentown, Pennsylvania

 

Dr. Fetterolf hails from Royersford, Pennsylvania. She decided to become a doctor after seeing her parents, who are both deaf, struggle to understand their own health issues because of miscommunications with health care providers.

 

Dr. Fetterolf was determined to one day change the way deaf families experience health care by improving deaf cultural awareness in health care and eliminating the need for sign language interpreters for her own patients. She says she always had an interest in how the human body works growing up and now, after years of hard work, she has made her dream of becoming a doctor a reality.

 

"I really believe most Caribbean students are more determined, resilient, and caring because of their experiences. Those characteristics and experiences are what will make your application stand out from the rest and what will potentially win over a program."

alumni Gizzi1

 

LARA GIZZI 

CLASS OF 2014

 

Family Medicine Resident

University of Ottawa, Canada

 


UMHS graduate Dr. Lara Gizzi took time from her hectic schedule–juggling duties as a Family Medicine resident at the University of Ottawa in Canada, research projects, exams and a work lifestyle she describes as an “absolute whirlwind”–to speak to the UMHS Endeavour. We were especially interested in speaking to Dr. Gizzi because she has a unique perspective on working in medicine in Canada.

Dr. Gizzi initially met with Michelle Peres, UMHS VP of Enrollment Management, and had a good feeling about our school, so she “took a risk” by applying to UMHS a few years ago. Ultimately, she made the right decision to enter UMHS as a Canadian studying medicine abroad. The Toronto area native had missed a deadline to apply online to Canadian medical schools and did not wish to wait a full year before applying again.

The UMHS Endeavour spoke to this gifted young doctor about her experiences at UMHS and on the island of St. Kitts, from the close connections she made with professors and working as a teaching assistant to the challenges of living abroad on a tropical island, and the myriad of lessons learned during clinical rotations and electives in the USA and Canada. Dr. Gizzi adapted quickly to St. Kitts and the UMHS campus and bonded with her fellow students, realizing she was “surrounded by people in the same boat with the same fears,” all wanting to become doctors. We spoke in detail with Dr. Gizzi about what Canadians can expect before, during and after studying medicine at UMHS.

 

“I DID ELECTIVES IN PLASTIC SURGERY AND CARDIOLOGY THROUGH MCMASTER UNIVERSITY, AS WELL AS AN ELECTIVE IN FAMILY MEDICINE IN A PRIVATE PRACTICE IN TORONTO. THIS MOST CERTAINLY ASSISTED IN MY SUCCESSFUL ENTRY INTO RESIDENCY IN CANADA. HAVING LETTERS OF REFERENCE FROM CANADIAN PHYSICIANS AND PROOF THAT I MADE IT MY PREROGATIVE TO INVEST TIME LEARNING IN CANADA WAS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE.”

 

Rahul Gosain Grad

 

Rahul Gosain, M.D.


UMHS Class of 2013

 

Fellow:  Hematology/Oncology at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

 

Residency: Internal Medicine at Johns-Hopkins University-Sinai Hospital

 

UMHS graduate Dr. Rahul Gosain completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University-Sinai Hospital and started a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the University of Louisville in June 2015. He is one of the first UMHS graduates to apply for a fellowship.

 

UMHS caught up with Dr. Gosain to discuss his career and his experiences at UMHS, from island life to his experience in clinical rotations and common misconceptions about students at Caribbean medical schools. We also discussed the importance of extracurricular activities during rotations, why Hematology/Oncology is such an important area of medicine, and much more.

 

 

“Looking back at where I started and where I am today, UMHS has played a big role.”

 

Alumni Lakraj

 

Amrita Amanda Lakraj, M.D.

 

Class of 2013

 

Neurology Resident,

Froedtert Hospital,

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

While still a UMHS medical student, Dr. Lakraj did neuromuscular research at Yale and published a case report. In addition, as a postdoctoral research associate at Yale, she observed patients and published manuscripts about movement disorders.

 

Dr. Lakraj also contributed to a chapter for a textbook. We spoke with this accomplished young doctor about how her medical education at UMHS prepared her for neurology, a lifesaving area of medicine.

 

"UMHS GAVE ME THE TOOLS NECESSARY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE CLINICAL WORLD. THE EXPERIENCE MOLDED ME INTO A STRONG DOCTOR AND ENCOURAGED ME TO TAKE ON ANY MEDICAL CHALLENGE."

 

Alumni AlessandraSecco

 

 

Alessandra Secco, M.D.


UMHS Class of 2014

Internal Medicine Resident

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

Park Ridge, Illinois

 

Dr. Alexandra Secco first became interested in medicine when her grandfather became ill with cancer. She enjoyed being at his bedside but wanted to do more to help him and to understand and treat his illness.

 

Dr. Secco graduated from UMHS in June 2014 and immediately started her Internal Medicine Residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. She was pleased with the clinical rotations at major U.S. hospitals offered by UMHS, allowing her to work directly with patients in areas where health care is desperately needed.


"I WAS EXTREMELY PREPARED FOR MY BOARDS AND ESPECIALLY SO AFTER OUR KAPLAN REVIEW COURSE DURING OUR 5TH SEMESTER. I ALSO FELT CONFIDENT WITH PATIENT INTERACTION AND PHYSICAL EXAM TECHNIQUES DUE TO OUR EXCELLENT PREPARATION DURING OUR 4TH AND 5TH SEMESTERS."

 

Dr. McMann lighter2

 

Larry McMann, M.D.


Class of 2013

 

Internal Medicine Resident

Wayne State University Medical Center

Michigan

 

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan, USA

 

Dr. Larry McMann achieved success at UMHS and finally became a doctor after a long journey that included being erroneously told by an undergraduate advisor that medicine “would not be a good fit” for him, a brief stint working as a dietitian, and later struggling as a medical student at a different school. Dr. McMann persevered and earned his M.D. at UMHS, getting one of the highest scores possible on USMLE Step 2.

 

“UMHS does a great job of giving you the tools that you need to succeed,” he says. “The motivation of the faculty, the positive attitude; they have real zeal for what they do. They don’t have an attitude like this is their job. They have an attitude like this is their calling.”

 

Dr. McMann credits the highly credentialed, caring UMHS faculty for his success. “At UMHS, the focus from day one is getting you to understand the material and that can be going to the classroom, you interacting with your professor and them really caring about whether you know the information or not when you leave the class.”

Alumni DrDavidKadouri photo

 

David Kadouri, M.D. 


Class of 2013

 

OB/GYN Resident,

Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Pennsylvania

 

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

Toronto native Dr. David Kadouri decided to study medicine at UMHS because he liked the sense of community at the school and the unique relationship between the student body and faculty.

 

The outstanding training he received at UMHS and through its clinical rotations helped him land a residency in OB/GYN at the prestigious Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

 

“The education at UMHS is extremely intimate; it is the perfect setup for an ambitious and eager student to thrive,” Dr. Kadouri says. “The class sizes are small, and there is a very personal feel.

 

My friends and faculty felt like family. Their sense of investment and genuine interest in my success was clear and palpable. My teachers were always available, and the roles and barriers of the usual student-teacher relationship didn’t exist. I could approach any member of faculty, from TA, to professor, up to the dean – with absolute comfort and ease, and they would give you their time to teach and help you succeed.”

 

Alumni CharlieOpperman

 

 

Charlie Opperman, M.D.


UMHS Class of 2012

Internal Medicine Resident

Kettering Medical Center, Kettering, Ohio 

 

Dr. Charlie Opperman was worried that his MCAT score might interfere with his chances to get into medical school, but he excelled at UMHS.

 

The superlative USMLE Step 1 preparation at the Portland, Maine, 5th semester campus and extraordinary clinical rotations were key factors to Dr. Opperman’s success at UMHS, and he’s now an Internal Medicine resident at Kettering Medical Center in his native Ohio.

 

"THE KAPLAN COURSE IN THE 5TH SEMESTER IS EXTREMELY HELPFUL AND PREPARED ME TO SIT FOR THE USMLE. IT IS VERY INTENSE, FOCUSED AND EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE 5TH SEMESTER WHICH HELPED ME TRANSITION SEAMLESSLY INTO THE CLINICAL PROGRAM"

 

Alumni DrJamesBrown

 

James Brown, M.D. 


Class of 2011

 

Internal Medicine Chief Resident 

Drexel University College of Medicine

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Hometown: Forsyth, Georgia, USA


Dr. James Brown has always loved science and helping people. He chose UMHS because he was impressed by the clinical program. UMHS helped him score high on USMLE exams and reach his goals.

“I was very well prepared and have had no trouble with any examinations,” Dr. Brown says.

 

 

“Throughout Internal Medicine residency, I have scored in the mid-90 percentiles for my in-service exams for the past three years.”

 

Dr. Brown credits one UMHS staff member for being especially helpful during clinical rotations. “I loved working with [UMHS Director of Clinical Relations] Maxine Paul. She was always available to discuss any concerns I had. Her genuine interest in the success of her students and the school was always apparent. I can’t believe what she was able to accomplish with my clinical rotations.”

 

Alumni DrKristinMiller

 

 

Kristin Miller, M.D.

 

Class of 2011

 

Chief Resident

Florida State University Family Residency Program,

Lee Memorial Hospital, Ft. Myers, Florida

 

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

 

Dr. Kristin Miller always wanted to be a doctor because she understood science and “knew that could be my gift to other people.” When she started looking at medical schools, the dedication of staff, state-of-the-art campus and high-tech facilities at UMHS impressed her the most, and she knew the school was a good match for her.

 

She calls the professors “the frontrunners in American medical education, the doctors that write the textbooks.” Dr. Miller adds that knowing how much the school is invested in students’ success gave her an extra sense of security.

 

“Due to the small class sizes, it was easy to form relationships with the UMHS faculty,” Dr. Miller says. “They all had an open-door policy. I took advantage of that and owe a lot of my success to the dedication of the faculty. A handful of them are still my mentors to this day.”

 

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