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Medical Panel Inspires Students

An inspiring group of medical professionals visited O’Dowd on October 23, discussing their individual professional paths and various career options in the field of medicine during an MP session held in the theater.

The panel was organized by Stalfana Bello, MPA, Executive Director of the Physicians Medical Forum, dedicated to encouraging recruitment and retention of African American and underrepsented minorities to become physicians and pursue their careers in Bay Area/Northern California. Bello stated that “due to the shortage of physicians in California, it is critically important to increase the number of doctors overall in California.” Bello’s daughter is Tracey Broadhead Frith ’85 and her three grandsons currently attend O’Dowd.

The group included Donna White Carey, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at Highland Hospital; Azuka Nwigwe, PT, DPT, OCS, Clinical Director at Pacific Physical Therapy Emeryville; Derrick D. Taylor, MD, General Surgeon for The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG); Dana Abdelgadir, an aspiring physician who recently graduated from UC. Berkeley with a degree in Public Health/Pre-Med and is working at Kaiser Permanente doing consulting and research; and Tiffany G. Sydlik, General Manager for the Princeton Review in Northern California.

All of the presenters encouraged students to let passion guide their career choice. “If you chase your passion, then you’ll never really have to work in your life because you will be enjoying what you do,” Taylor said.

Carey noted that students don’t have to limit themselves to medicine should they have additional interests. “There are a number of joint degree programs,” she said, in which students can pair a medical degree with an MBA, JD, Master of Public Health or Master of Science. “I’m going to get my MBA in the fall of next year.”

Sydlik said that reading comprehension is critically important for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT and the MCAT – the test required for admission to medical school. “You need to be able to read in an expedient manner and extrapolate information,” she said. “You should read a lot and that will help you with all these tests.”


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