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Medical Panel Inspires Students

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An inspiring group of medical professionals visited O’Dowd last week, discussing their individual professional paths and various career options in the field of medicine during an MP session held in the theater. They also offered students practical advice regarding taking the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) and participated in an engaging question and answer session.

The panel was organized by Stalfana Bello, MPA, Executive Director, and Dr. Warren Strudwick, CFO, with the Physicians Medical Forum. Bello’s daughter is Tracey Broadhead Frith ’85 and her three grandsons currently attend O’Dowd.

Along with Dr. Strudwick, who is an orthopedic surgeon and Oakland Raiders team physician, the group included Donna White Carey, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at Highland Hospital; Tiffany Cobb, M.D., Resident, UCSF Medical Center; Nicholas Drbal, DPM, a podiatrist at Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation; Lamarr Echols, M.D., Resident, UCSF Medical Center; Alexander Markes, UCSF Medical Student; and Azuka Nwigwe, PT, DPT, OCS, Pacific Physical Therapy Emeryville.

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Carey said that pediatrics spoke to her because she loves murder mysteries. “Babies can’t tell you where it hurts. You have to use not just your clinical skills, but you really have to be a detective,” she said. “I really enjoy that part of my job, trying to figure out what’s wrong without someone telling me exactly where it hurts or why it hurts.”

Cobb shared how she majored in English at UC Berkeley and had her sights set on being a writer. After she started working at a marketing job after college, she had an epiphany. “I wanted to be doing something where I felt I was giving back to people,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to become a doctor.”

She returned to school to complete the science requirements needed to apply to medical school, and attended Duke University School of Medicine. It was a longer and more circuitous route than others on the panel who knew from an early age they wanted to be a doctor, but she’s never regretted it. “It’s been the greatest decision I’ve made,” she said.

Each professional encouraged the students to seize all opportunities that present themselves – even in the face of obstacles. “When you see an opportunity you need to go for it. You have to ask for what you want and you can’t be afraid of someone saying no,” Strudwick advised.

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