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New Member
Nov 16, 2019
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all-
I’m slightly non-traditional. 22yo Caucasian female, LGBT.
Long story short, I graduated HS in 2015 and was awarded a Stamps Scholarship to LSU. During my third semester in the Fall of 2016, I was forced to resign for medical reasons. I returned in the spring and completed that semester but decided to take medical leave and did not return for the fall, moving back home to NY instead. Overall GPA within Animal Science major was a 4.113. I was pre-vet at the time and have hundreds of hours of experience from that, both volunteer and paid. In my short time there, I held many leadership positions within clubs, competed at the national level with research presentations (dairy science), tutored, and did research with a biology professor and equine endocrinology professor.
While I was at home for two years dealing with some health issues, I worked at a couple of vets, PetSmart, and then Barnes and Noble as I was becoming less and less interesting in working with animals.
I then ended up working as a dental assistant for 6 months last year. The job was working for a family friend and I did it as more of a favor than anything else, but it made me admit my passion for working with people. Choosing pre-med instead of pre-vet wasn’t a sudden decision, but something I had considered since childhood.
I transferred to SUNY New Paltz in Fall of 2019. The college is only 20 minutes from home and I am close to my doctors and such. I just finished my second semester in the Biology program and have a 4.0 here thus far. I have only a handful of gen eds and biology electives left to take. I have yet to get involved with clubs here as I spent much of my first semester dealing with a cancer scare, and this semester was a bit of a wash since the college is shut down. I have also been taking an EMT course since January and will be certified (hopefully) in the next month.
I am unfortunately still not very healthy as it always seems to be one thing after another. I am dealing with what is now my third cancer scare in the last 12 month and am scheduling a lymphadenectomy this week but am optimistic that none of this will interrupt my studies once taken care of. I’m hoping this will be the last scare, as well.
As you may have gathered, I (like most people during covid-19) am struggling with gaining patient contact hours. I plan to be working as an EMT from now until I graduate in spring 2021, when I will be applying. I plan on doing the same during my gap year. I also just became a counselor for the Crisis Text Line and will be doing 200 volunteer hours that way. I have not yet taken the MCAT but am scheduled for my first attempt in August. I’m taking the blueprint course and expecting a minimum 510 but am aiming for a 520. Come fall, I plan on working as a tutor for both calculus and organic chemistry on campus. I will also be completing an honors thesis, likely in neurophysiology.
I have a lot of experience and know that my numbers will be decent on paper, but fear most of my story is going to be irrelevant. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should do next? I know I need to shadow but the state of things doesn’t really allow for that.
I’d appreciate any and all suggestions that will help me to become more well rounded!
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2010
  1. Resident [Any Field]
As a fellow LGBTQ+ mid-30's non-trad, my suggestions are as follows:

1) Your story IS interesting. Own it. Yes, you need to check all the boxes, but from what I'm seeing you're going to have a super interesting personal statement with great insight into what it's like to be a patient waiting for a diagnosis. Quite a few medical students I know (including myself) have some sort of significant medical history and I think we'll all be better physicians because of it.
2) If you're interested in LGBTQ+ advocacy, consider this! While it's not patient contact hours, this would make you unique. I was only out on one medical school secondary and they raved about the response I wrote. I did a lot of LGBTQ+ advocacy during medical school and feel this is part of what took me from a low tier medical school to a top 10 residency. I wish I had done this before medical school too! I interviewed at a LOT of places for residency - almost every single one asked about my work with the LGBTQ+ community. I think three asked about my actual scientific research.
3) Speaking of research - can you get this honors thesis published? I think having a publication/poster presentation in something medically related would help that portion of your application.
4) The higher the MCAT, the better. Aim for the 520!
5) Regarding shadowing hours, try to get as much as you can. I don't think this is going to make or break your application, especially if you work as an EMT. I had 10 hours of shadowing outside of my work as a scribe and it never came into question. In my opinion, your 6 months of being a dental assistant should count for something!
6) Letters of recommendation - Try to get enough shadowing with one physician at some point to get a good letter of recommendation.

Best of luck!
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Indoor Cat
2+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2018
  1. Medical Student
I also agree that your story of why you want to become a physician is interesting and will be relevant to your journey. I have never experienced anything that you have, but I follow this doctor on Instagram, Claudia Martinez. She underwent brain surgery 6 times, twice while in medical school and she talks pretty in depth on her posts about her journey and might be able to give you some insight on how to frame your experiences in your application. Best of luck!
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Apr 28, 2020
desert highway
hearteries said:
There are many sequelae regarding HIV. Pick one. See here for ideas

‘A man is as old as his arteries’ (attributed to Thomas... : AIDS
An abstract is unavailable.

visit a community clinic that tends to LGBT, preferably one with an ID doc who follows long term consequences of HIV. That was my approach. Since then my eyes have been opened to Trans and what they experience, high prevalence of CVD, HAND, partners as caretakers and how they suffer alone caring for their sick spouse / SO, serodiscordant dynamics....big issue but little is done for serodiscordant couples....polypharmacy, Protease Inhibs and their deleterious effects, PREP and barebacking are huge on apps thinking PrEP is their shield, aging gay single / widowed men (huge issue), immigrants who are closeted yet face more discrimination because of lack of papers, lack of family, running from ICE, sh!t jobs just to pick up and leave when ICE is in town, promises by tricks only to become sick,.....and more

be forewarned: many universities talk a good shtick about LGBT, diversity, yada yada..but what they actually do: crickets

oh and get a therapist. Youre going to need her once you learn how discarded LGBT folks are by the “leadership” in academic medicine
Great post!
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2010
  1. Resident [Any Field]

Thanks for the suggestion of LGBTQ+ advocacy - was this through a hospital or through your university? As a queer person, I'd be interested in doing this but not sure where to get started.

Thank you

Advocacy was both on my own in the community and through the medical school. I started by getting involved with our health science pride group during 1st year and took a leadership position 2nd year. This gave me a lot of the connections I needed. I'm really interested public health research, so I completed a LGBTQ+ health disparities project while in medical school. By reaching out to the community for this project, I naturally got involved in local advocacy groups and started volunteering.

The steps I would take:

1) Get involved with your health campus pride group if there is one. If there isn't but you're connected to a larger University, try to get involved with the undergrad group at least peripherally.
2) Generally, through involvement in campus groups, opportunities for volunteering and advocacy appear. I found that local community groups LOVED having med students in attendance.
3) If there are any LGBTQ+ specific clinics, definitely explore that and consider volunteering there. My med school did not have this.
4) If you are interested in health disparities research, get plugged into the school of public health sooner rather than later. Yes, you can juggle this type of project and scientific research.
5) There are also so many opportunities to contribute to LGBTQ+ education at the medical school level. Assess your school's LGBTQ+ curriculum and find ways to make improvements!
6) I never got involved with this but here is the webpage for a national medical student pride group: Medical Student Pride Alliance
7) If there are any youth groups in the area for LGBTQ+ teens, you can explore getting involved in that capacity as well. Additionally, some of these local organizations may allow you to eventually become a board member.

And while I agree with the above that some academic medicine program "talk the talk" but don't "walk the walk" when it comes to LGBTQ+ health, I was pleasantly surprised by the number that really are concerned about this!
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