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Jennifer Lewey’s childhood aspirations to become a physician and help people throughout the world took shape in East Boston. Her hopes and dreams were refined at Boston Latin School, Brandeis University and Harvard Medical School, and partially realized as she has traveled to Sri Lanka and Rwanda.
Last month, her journey was only a short distance, but as exciting as any of her trips yet. On Match Day, the graduating med school student walked across the HMS quad to BWH for the Department of Medicine’s annual welcoming celebration for incoming first-year residents from Boston-area schools.
“I’m thrilled to stay in the area because there are so many leaders in the field of international health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who are trying to find the best way to help others overseas, and I want to be a part of that community,” she said.
Lewey was among dozens at the DOM’s Match Day celebration to receive the official Brigham welcome from Joel Katz, MD, director of the Internal Medicine Residency program, and BWH faculty including Marshall Wolf, MD, Bruce Levy, MD, Maria Yialamas, MD, William Taylor, MD, and other faculty and residents. The DOM welcomes 72 new residents in July from around the country and world.
“Seeing so many wonderful residents who are so altruistic and bright gives me hope for our future as patients,” Katz said.
For Lewey, who is the first person in her family to attend college, there is a strong connection to Boston, BWH and Partners. Her father is a bus driver for Delta at Logan Airport, and her mother works as a clinical team assistant for Partners HealthCare. Her brother is one of the hundreds of construction workers who spent the last several years building the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center.
This year’s class has many standouts, prompting Katz to call it “one of the best matches ever.” Fourteen members of this year’s class have pursued doctorate degrees and two come to BWH armed with their MBA.
Like Sachin Jain, who, as a Harvard College undergrad, was inspired to pursue a career in medicine by Howard Hiatt, MD, co-chief of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at BWH and professor of Medicine. Jain, a government major, decided to pursue his masters in business administration while at HMS to learn the business side of health care. He even launched a Web site in hopes of changing and improving policy and education.
“I would like to be an agent of change to improve access to quality health care for patients,” said Jain.
Katz has worked with one of the residents before she became a medical student. Anya Lepp decided to become a physician after working as a community health worker at BWH’s Prevention and Access to Care and Treatment project with Katz. Lepp spent much of her time supporting HIV/AIDS patients in their own homes.
“Joel was the doctor for one of my clients, which is how I met him. I went with him to homes of HIV patients’ who really needed our help,” she said.
Other residents traveled around the world before attending medical school. Rose Kakoza earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard College in sociology and worked in health policy research after graduating. She also helped to develop curriculum on HIV/AIDS for a local non-profit in South Africa and helped teach that curriculum in local high schools.
Ramon Partida moved from his native Puerto Rico to attend MIT in hopes of becoming an engineer. It was his work in translational research for biomedical device development that convinced him to become a physician. “I wasn’t so sure I wanted a career in medicine, but when I had the chance to work closely with the patients, it was that experience that pushed me to seek a more ‘front-line’ position filled with rich, daily personal interactions,” he said.