UMMSM Future Doc Series

UMMSM Future Doc Series April 2019

Daniel Raza - Future Doc Series Cover

UMMSM Summer Programs completed: MCAT Prep, Summer 2014
Undergrad: Quinnipiac University
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Health Science Studies
Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine, Class of 2022
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

I’ve always looked up to my pediatrician back in Pakistan as I was able to develop a close relationship with her due to a childhood condition I developed. In college, I knew I wanted to pursue something in health sciences because I was always intrigued to learn more about bodily processes, again reminding me of the childhood condition I had, symptoms associated with it and the medications that I was taking. I was able to learn the value of medicine through the various summer pre-med programs like the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Yale University, MCAT Program at the University of Miami, and the Michigan Health Sciences Undergraduate Research Program (MHSURA) at the University of Michigan. These programs all aimed to strengthen different parts of being a pre-med and it was through the MHSURA Program in which I learned to admire the process and enjoy all the various extracurriculars recommended to be competitive to apply to medical school. I became passionate about community service and appreciated the contribution research had towards medicine. My passion led me to volunteer for AmeriCorps and also conduct clinical drug research, both in Connecticut as part of my gap years, to now studying at Tulane University.

What advice would you give to premed students applying to medical school?

Express your passions and bring out your individuality in your application. Most people who are applying will have competitive GPA and MCAT scores, but I think to stand out you have to hone in on your experiences and make it personable. 2) Your personal statement can really make a difference in your application, so I would really focus on that. 3) I highly recommend gap years. It allowed me to strengthen my application significantly and reflect on why I want to enter this profession. At Tulane Med, I would suspect around 70-80% of students in my class took multiple gap years.

Tell us about your UMMSM Medical Scholars Summer Program experience.

I loved my experience at University of Miami. I was in the MCAT Program, so we were studying most of the time. However, the program allowed me to shadow in different fields every week, and I found it very valuable. The people at UM are very supportive and gave a lot of advice. Also, I was able to make life-long friends from the program, some of whom I still talk to. Most of the students who participate in the Future Medical Scholars Program at UM do end up getting into medical school; my cohort is indicative of that. It was this program that made my young naive pre-med self realize that this journey is not black and white. It’s really fluid, and it is what you make it. For example, I was afraid to study abroad because I thought it wouldn’t be valuable towards my medical school application, as I wasn’t going to be taking any science courses. I was interested in exploring a new culture, and it was through my talks with the faculty of UM, like Nannette Vega, who influenced me to challenge myself and do what I would enjoy. At the end of it all, medical schools loved my enthusiasm when I spoke about studying abroad and other experiences.

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

I like to run and be active in the gym; it helps take my mind off of school. I live in New Orleans, so my spare time is spent exploring new places to eat and attending new festivals. When I have downtime, I like to travel. This year, I will be going to Mexico City with my friends from medical school.