“I can still remember my first days and classes at International American University. The medical administration staff and all of my professors were so friendly and welcoming. Not only did I have the opportunity to live in the beautiful country of Saint Lucia, but I also received a great medical education during my basic science program. Because I was very passionate about the subjects of histology and biochemistry, I was granted the possibility to volunteer as a Teaching Assistant for the incoming student class. This experience taught me how to best manage my time in order to study effectively, teach, as well as be involved in other extracurricular activities that would allow me to improve my clinical skills (Diabetes & HIV screening clinics, blood pressure monitoring, etc).
After I completed the basic science program on the island, I remained focused and successfully passed all the required licensing exams, USMLEs I, II (CS and CK), and III between January 2014 – May 2016 while also undergoing my clinical rotations in the cities of Chicago, Toronto, and Hamilton. I was extremely grateful that IAU allowed me to receive some of these credits from rotations completed in Canada. During my clerkships, I received vigorous training at various hospitals in Chicago and that certainly allowed me to become more confident in interacting with patients, as well as diagnosing medical conditions and assisting in formulating the optimal treatment plans. I learned that maintaining great professional relationships while showing initiative with your preceptors is paramount to one’s education, and that allowed me to hold the position of Clerkship Coordinator three different times during my training.
Unfortunately, I did not successfully match into residency right after graduating from medical school in December 2015. It was definitely a difficult road with obstacles I had to overcome, but I did not give up on my dream of practicing medicine. IAU was very supportive during this process. I continued volunteering at medical clinics afterwards, until I successfully became employed as both a Physician Assistant and an Infectious Disease Research Analyst at a leading research hospital in Toronto, Ontario. Whenever possible, I also did my best to support my fellow colleagues who were also experiencing the same hardships. These opportunities significantly improved my analytical, leadership, and teamwork skills, and lead to three different journal publications.
I am now extremely happy to say that I have matched into the Family Medicine Residency Program at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, Illinois. When I reflect on my medical journey with IAU, I must say that they offered the necessary resources as well as support for their students in order for them to acquire their dreams of practicing medicine. Even now, I still consider the possibility of going back to Saint Lucia to practice medicine because I had such a wonderful experience during my medical training.”
Dr. Timea Maxim
University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, Illinois