Congrats, grads!

What did you do in between graduation and residency?

Recent grads share how they’re making the most of the precious weeks between graduation and starting residency training.

When graduation season rolls around, it’s time to say farewell to classmates, banish heavy textbooks to basements and maybe even move across the country.

This period between graduation and residency training is a rare opportunity for brand-new physicians to enjoy some time off. Many recent graduates are getting married, settling into new homes and rightfully catching up on some much-needed R&R. Here’s how some of the profession’s newest DOs are making the most of their break before residency.

Working toward a solo practice dream

Between graduating from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) and starting a transitional year internship at St. Joseph’s Mercy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Laura Bridges, DO, is seeking guidance from health care professionals on how to realize her dream of running a women’s health clinic.

Dr. Bridges has a particular interest in treating three particular female patient populations:

  • Breast and gynecologic cancer survivors
  • Women with pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Female athletes with musculoskeletal issues

To get her feet wet in these areas, Dr. Bridges has spent a few afternoons since graduation shadowing physical therapists to learn different compression dressings, manual techniques and other aspects of physical therapy that can help these patient populations heal without surgery.

Laura Bridges, DO

“A lot of events have led me to want to specialize in women’s health issues related to rehabilitation, including volunteering with MSU’s sexual assault program in undergrad,” says Dr. Bridges. “I love working with women, so I’m exploring the best way to deliver care that will help me reach my professional and personal goals.”

In preparing to go into private practice as a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician specializing in women’s health, Dr. Bridges is also taking a course with Pamela Wible, MD, a popular voice on physician wellness matters, to make sure that when she’s in a position to open a clinic, she’s doing it with her patients’ best interests at heart.

Inspiring underrepresented minorities to consider medicine

During their time at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM), six African-American women built a bond that helped them surmount not just the ups and downs of medical school, but also deaths, births, breakups and even a major car accident.

The Fab 6: (from left to right) Sharde Chambers, DO, Sakeina Howard-Wilson, DO, Bianca Hall, DO, Patria Gerardo Arroyo, DO, Abisola Luther, DO, Kristyn Smith, DO. (Photo provided by The Fab 6.)

The group calls themselves The Fab 6. As black women physicians, they know they collectively represent less than 2% of the physician workforce, so they’re making plans to inspire more underrepresented minorities and women to pursue careers in medicine.

Their unbreakable friendship gained publicity when their mentor and fellow RowanSOM alum, Magdala Chery, DO, shared a picture of the six physicians on social media. Comments from readers inspired The Fab 6 to plan on creating a blog called The Fab 6 DO.

“The blog will highlight our perspectives on medicine, friendship and womanhood as we continue into residency and beyond,” The Fab 6 told The DO in an email the group collectively wrote. “Our goal is to inspire individuals to pursue a career in medicine, advise and mentor pre-medical and medical students, promote health and wellness in our communities and advance the knowledge of osteopathic medicine.”

A celebratory tour of Italy

ACOM classmates pose for a picture during their tour of Italy. From left to right: Tiffanie Mann, DO, Brittany Bertsch, DO, David Wilkerson, DO, and Robin Conley, DO. (Photo provided by Robin Conley, DO.)

Classmates Robin Conley, DO, David Wilkerson, DO, Tiffanie Mann, DO, and Brittany Bertsch, DO, just wrapped up a tour of Italy this weekend.

With stops in Rome, Florence and Tuscany, Bologna and Milan, the group is celebrating their graduation as the inaugural class from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The group cannot decide which experience they enjoyed more between visiting the Vatican and wine tasting in Tuscany. They do all agree that future graduates from medical school should plan a similar trip.

“Choose a cool place you may have never visited and some of your closest classmates to enjoy it with, because you may not get the chance to spend much time with them during PGY-1,” says Dr. Conley.

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