Mr. Omar Shaban, a 2015 program participant at the University of Virginia. Today, he is a first year medical student at Carver College of Medicine.

What led to your interest in a health profession?

Growing up my sister had health problems and although it was difficult on my family, it exposed me to many health care specialties and fields. The physician’s ability in particular, to diagnose and care for my sister peaked my interest to pursue a career in medicine.

Who or what inspired you?

Before college, my goal of becoming a physician was only a dream, but it was not until I participated in SMDEP that I felt I could make that dream into a reality.  This program guided me and helped me understand the level of hard work and dedication necessary to achieve a career in medicine. Even though this program lasted only six weeks, it gave me a glimpse of what a career in medicine would be like, and inspired me to pursue my passion for medicine.

What surprised you the most about professional school?

What surprised me the most about professional school is the level of support I have felt from the faculty and staff at the Carver College of Medicine. Even on my interview day, I felt welcomed and supported by the faculty and staff, and this feeling of support has not wavered since. I feel that the faculty and staff continue to support me and encourage me to succeed and they continue to maintain my best interests at heart whether relating to academics or my own physical and mental well-being.

If you had the opportunity to talk to a health profession student, what would you tell him/her?

If I had the opportunity to talk to an undergraduate health profession student, I would tell them to follow your dreams, and find mentors that truly believe in you and will support you on this long and sometimes difficult journey. If it were not for my mentors and their help, support, and guidance, I would not be where I am today.

Do you remember your first day of graduate studies? What memory stands out the most?

I still remember my first day, I had cadaver lab. The rush of emotions and the sense of ones mortality I felt during that session I will never forget. Learning the human anatomy from a cadaver is something most people never get to do and as a medical student on their first day, to do that, I felt privileged and honored.

Posted: November 2018