Ilma Chowdhury, OMS II
Class of 2023 - RVUCOM-CO
B.S. in Health & Nutrition from Virginia Tech
Graduate studies, if applicable:
M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University, M.S. from Georgetown University
What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
Urban Underserved Honors Track, Class Council 2023 - Officer for Diversity, Co-President of Internal Medicine Club, Peer Mentor & Coach, Peer Support Officer, SNMA - Publicity Officer
Why did you choose RVUCOM?
I was immediately attracted to the sense of community and belonging I felt when I came to visit RVU during interviews. The positive environment and the warm interactions between the students and amongst the faculty and staff was a true indication of how valuable my experience at this school would be. Simply put, I felt like people cared for each other beyond the academic world of medicine. RVUCOM not only prepares you for residency, but also provide you with the support (both academic and emotional) to succeed throughout these 4 years.
What do you like most about RVUCOM?
I love that the faculty and staff at RVU encourage a positive learning environment that does not support unhealthy competition. The open-door policy is well-practiced among all members of the RVU family, proving that they are truly here to support their students and help them prosper. Student feedback is always valued and addressed, and professors go many extra miles to meet the needs of their students.
What are your medical interests?
While I want to start off with a residency in Internal Medicine, I want to wait to enrich my experiences through rotations and residency before deciding if I want pursue a particular subspecialty. My professional goal is to become an empathetic physician and a leader in preventative medicine, particularly in communities that fall victim to systemic racism, and thereby have to suffer the costs of health disparities. Therefore, through my medical practice and advocacy in health policy, I am committed to ensuring equity and inclusiveness, not only in healthcare but also across all other platforms.
What do you appreciate most about Colorado and the local area?
Coming from Washington, D.C., my favorite part about Colorado is the options to be out in nature even within an hour from Parker. Medical school can be very isolating, especially when you're spending days stuck indoors studying. As for the handful of days I get to spend without worrying about exams, I am grateful to (basically) have the Rocky Mountains in my backyard. Going outside and appreciating the beauties of world is humbling, and an excellent way to self-reflect, spend time with friends and clear my mind. Living in Parker allows me a balance of exposure between the mountain-side and the city life.
What advice do you have for first-year students?
In my opinion, the first year of med school is the hardest because you have to adjust to a new lifestyle and prioritize where you give your time, on top of dealing with the academics. For this reason, it is very important to reflect on what you need outside of school to keep you grounded and happy. Make sure to spend some time every day for yourself, whether that be through working out, reading, cooking or speaking to a friend or loved one. Get involved on campus based on your interests and passions; just because you're in med school doesn't mean that you have to let go of that aspect of your identity. It's also very important to be able to reach out for help sooner rather than later, so don't be afraid to just ask! You belong in medical school and asking for help does not diminish that accomplishment even one bit.
Fun facts about you:
I used to be a middle school science teacher in Baltimore, MD and I love all my students. I love to learn about anything and everything to build my mental library of random knowledge. And also, I relieve stress by going on long drives and blasting music (almost daily).
Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?
At a very young age I learned to respect the role of a physician as I watched my mother travel across villages of Bangladesh, treating people and improving their quality of life. On top of that, I have always felt a love and curiosity for the study of medicine. As a middle school teacher in an underserved part of Baltimore, I was exposed to the harsh realities of systemic racism and racial inequities that controlled the lives of my students. Although I was a teacher, I repeatedly saw the effects of a failed healthcare system on my students' lives. This reaffirmed my initial goal of being able to provide easier access to healthcare to communities across the United States. After a lot of self-reflection, I decided to pursue a career in medicine, not only to gain proper healthcare training but also to become a qualified leader and advocate in the medical field.
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