Alicia Heidenreich, MD ’21, Returns to Ohio Hometown to Begin First Choice Radiology Residency
The AUC graduate matched into the radiology program at Case Western Reserve University / MetroHealth—the university where she received her master’s degree in applied anatomy, in the city where she grew up.
“I keep pinching myself, I feel like I’m dreaming,” said Dr. Heidenreich. “I’m so overjoyed to have matched into my number one choice, my hometown, and my alma mater.”
A former paramedic and physician assistant, Dr. Heidenreich had dreamed of going to medical school for years. “I worked as a PA in neurosurgery for four years and loved my job, but I wanted to know more and do more. I would see medical students huddled with an attending and wish I was with them,” said Dr. Heidenreich. “Then one day, an attending asked me why I’d never gone to med school.” They quickly struck up a conversation about what she would need to do to make it a reality, from taking the MCAT to researching schools.
It was the push Dr. Heidenreich needed. Having been out of school for several years, she enrolled at Case Western and began her master’s degree. There, she discovered a passion for anatomy and radiology, which solidified her desire to go to medical school.
“AUC was very welcoming of nontraditional students like me,” said Dr. Heidenreich. “I was also really impressed by OSPD [AUC’s Office of Student and Professional Development] and the support they offered.”
She cited OSPD’s Physician Match Advisor program as a valuable resource in navigating the residency application process. The PMA program matches fourth-year AUC students with a physician mentor who provides individualized recommendations and coaching for the residency Match. The goal is to help students increase their chances of attaining a desired residency position in the United States or Canada.
“The PMA program is definitely a huge benefit,” said Dr. Heidenreich. “It was helpful to be able to talk to someone in the field and specialty I was interested in. You can share your scores and background, talk strategy, and discuss what to focus on. My PMA was a great resource throughout interview season—he even texted me right before the Match and gave me encouragement.”
During her time at AUC, Dr. Heidenreich enjoyed participating in community outreach events, from volunteering at local cleanups during Community Action Day to providing free health screenings as part of Project H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, Literacy, Prevention).
“As students, we were able to go out in the community to do health and wellness checks, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, vision, and more,” said Dr. Heidenreich. “It was great to be able to take a step back from studying and offer this service for free. It’s a nice reminder of what you’re working towards as a medical student.”
Her advice for current students? Everyone’s different when it comes to study tactics—learn from others’ perspectives, but don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. “Take whatever works for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it,” said Dr. Heidenreich. “Celebrate your successes, and the successes of your study buddies and classmates. Lift each other up and encourage each other.”