Meet Christina Dimopoulos from Stanford, CA. She attended Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and is a PGY-2 in the Traditional Residency Program.
What led you to pursue a career in medicine?
I decided to pursue a career in medicine after volunteering at a free clinic that took care of uninsured patients while I was in undergraduate. Working at that clinic showed me that medicine is a form of public service that can be used as a platform to advocate for your patients. I continued to pursue my passion of advocating for patients during medical school, where I volunteered at a clinic that was a permanent medical home for undocumented patients in East Harlem. As a resident, I chose to have my primary care clinic at an FQHC (federally qualified health center) to continue caring for uninsured and underinsured patients.
What are your goals after you complete residency? Where do you see yourself?
After I finish residency, I am planning on pursuing a gastroenterology fellowship. I'm interested in luminal GI (either inflammatory bowel diseases or colorectal cancer prevention). My fiance and I are both from California (we actually met in middle school!) and would love to head back there for fellowship if possible. We will be couples matching into fellowship though, so the most important thing to us is that we end up at a program in the same city.
Why did you choose Yale IMed for your residency?
There were so many reasons! The biggest one is that the residents seemed genuinely happy when I interviewed here, and I was looking for a supportive place to train. I also loved that there was an emphasis on the medical humanities because I was an English major in college and wanted to find ways to integrate my background into my career in medicine. The other thing that drew me to the program is the wide variety of global health rotations, as well as the structured distinction pathways.
Describe your experience at Yale IMed in 3 words.
Collaborative, supportive, and joyful.
What is your fondest memory at Yale thus far?
My fondest memory at Yale thus far was participating in the writer's workshop led by Dr. Anna Reisman and Dr. Lisa Sanders during my intern year. The workshop took place over two days and consisted of a mix of residents from different programs. Getting to hear everyone's stories, as well as getting feedback on my own piece, reminded me of being a creative writing major in college.
Who has had the greatest influence on you, and why?
My parents both had a great influence on me in different ways. My dad is a physics professor, and knew from a young age that he wanted to be a physicist. Since that was his path, he taught me from a young age that I should find my passion and turn that into a career. My mom taught me that hard work is just as important as innate ability, and also raised me to appreciate the doors that higher education could open for me.
If you could say anything to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself to hold onto the things that make me "me." Especially in residency, I've found that it's important to continue to pursue my hobbies outside medicine such as reading, writing, cooking, and going on hikes.
What's a fun fact about you?
I am a first generation Greek American! My parents immigrated to the US in their early 20s, and my grandmother and uncle still live in Athens, Greece. Growing up, I spend 2-3 months every summer with them.
What is one piece of advice you'd give someone who is applying for residency?
This is probably a common answer, but I would tell them that the most important thing is to trust your gut feeling. The majority of programs will give you great training, so it's important to go somewhere where you think you'll be supported and make strong friendships with the other people in the program.
What have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments since the beginning of the pandemic?
My biggest challenge since the beginning of the pandemic has been adjusting to the uncertainty. When the pandemic first started, we thought it would only last a couple months, and now we're almost a year in. I've had to be creative about how to continue feeling connected to people by doing things like joint movie nights with my parents, Zoom cooking sessions with friends, and lots of phone calls with friends from college through residency. My biggest accomplishment has been having my piece Calling a Code (which was written before the pandemic but felt particularly relevant once it hit) be published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It felt like my background in creative writing and my career in medicine were starting to weave together, and I'm looking forward to continuing to write.
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