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Daniel Andrés Colón-Ríos

Second-year MD-PhD student

Where did you grow up and where were you living immediately prior to medical school?

With a lot of joy and pride, I say that I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. All my family is from San Juan, but early in my childhood, my parents decided that they wanted to open a franchise, which led resulted in us moving to Mayagüez, about 2 hours away from San Juan. I spent the grand majority of my life in Mayagüez, which is on the west side of the island (west side, best side for sure). I was raised with a perfect climate throughout the year, picture-perfect beaches, exquisite cuisine but most importantly the most candid and fun people you can ever imagine. With the goal of pursuing an MD-PhD, immediately after college, I moved to New Haven to work as a postgraduate associate researching DNA repair pathways to aid in cancer therapy and to start prepping for the medical school application cycle. During my time in New Haven, along with working in the lab, I volunteered as an interpreter at the HAVEN Free Clinic, a student-run clinic that provides free healthcare to uninsured residents of New Haven, did some clinical shadowing in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and completed a Cancer Biology Training Program.

Why did you choose Yale School of Medicine?

Living in New Haven for 2 years had a major influence in my decision to pursue my graduate studies here. Throughout my gap years, I was fortunate to meet many people at the school that served as mentors in both professional and personal settings. I felt as my career as a future physician-scientist was taking shape without me even being a student yet. Moreover, the Yale curriculum was very intriguing, as it allowed students the flexibility to manage their own time and allow them to participate in extracurriculars that would further make them better physicians.

Can you briefly describe your schedule on a typical weekday?

I’ve just started my clerkship year with a rotation in Internal Medicine and Neurology. On any given weekday, I’ll wake up and get ready to head to the hospital. Occasionally, depending on how I anticipate the course of the day will go, I’ll work out early in the morning and make some breakfast before starting my day. Once at the hospital, I get settled, get updates on how the patients I’m following are doing and then I’ll visit them and examine them. Shortly after, I gather my thoughts with the team, we create a plan and then we spend most of the day placing orders to make sure the plan is met, stop by patients’ rooms to see how they’re doing and every couple of days admit new patients to our service. Working hours usually end around 4pm and then I head home, hit the gym, play some volleyball, hang out with friends and/or read up on some stuff I found interesting while at the hospital.

What neighborhood do you live in/near New Haven?

I currently live in Downtown New Haven, maybe like a 15-minute walk from the hospital, but I used to live in East Rock, which is more like a 35-minute walk away from the hospital. I love living downtown; I get to live close to my friends, restaurants and bars are very close by and it’s also very convenient to have the hospital nearby!

What is your favorite thing to do in/near New Haven?

Even though New Haven is a small city, it’s always fun to go visit the different restaurants the city has to offer, go on hikes on towns nearby, and just take day trips around the East Coast. I also really enjoying playing volleyball, so I’ve joined a couple of leagues and often play recreationally at the university’s gym. Whether it’s hitting a bar, going on a hike, or taking a trip to NYC, if I’m spending time with my friends, I can’t really ask for much more!

Do you have any final thoughts or advice for prospective students?

Don’t be afraid to take that big step! You’ll never know what will happen if you don’t try it out. Also, always keep in mind that you do belong, that you do deserve to be wherever you aspire to be, and that other are looking up to you. Enjoy every moment because it only happens once and it goes by pretty fast!