Chasing the Dream, One Decision at a Time
In 1995 Tiffany Graham, MD, opened her first medical practice, began treating patients, and researching cures for their ailments. The location of the practice was her bedroom closet, the patients were her stuffed animals, and her research tool was a microscope given to her by her father on her birthday.
Today, Dr. Graham is poised to begin treating real patients at the University of Alabama- Birmingham Medical Center as a first year pathology resident and graduate of American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC).
“I’ve come a long way from treating stuffed animals by holding onto a dream I had as a little girl. It has guided all of the decisions I’ve made, including one of the most important — to attend AUC,” said Dr. Graham. “Having lived in several countries, the idea of attending an international medical school was appealing to me, and the more I learned about AUC’s program, the more impressed I was.”
After earning her bachelor of science in biochemistry from East Carolina University, N.C., Dr. Graham began her medical school journey on AUC’s campus in St. Maarten.
“[I believe] AUC has an excellent pass rate for United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step 1, and having gone through the program, I know why: our amazing faculty. They are always available to students and teaching is their singular priority,” said Dr. Graham. “When it was my turn to take [the] Step1, I felt completely prepared and was extremely happy to attain a passing score above the US average. I could not have done this without the guidance provided by each of my professors.”
Dr. Graham also participated in many of the student-led service learning and community outreach activities both on campus and in the St. Maarten community. She credits these experiences with grounding and inspiring her as she dedicated herself to the study of medicine.
“I have always felt it important to give back to the community. AUC encourages and facilitates this. During my time on the island, I had the privilege of contributing to the health education efforts by local organizations such as the Diabetes Association and the St. Maarten HIV Awareness Foundation,” she said. “Each of these experiences enriched me and reminded me why I chose to become a physician.”
After completing the medical sciences curriculum, Dr. Graham had the opportunity to complete her clinical rotations at affiliated teaching hospitals across the United States and in the United Kingdom.
“I knew without a doubt that the option to learn more about other healthcare systems was one that I could not pass up. I headed to London and completed all of my core rotations at Ealing Hospital,” said Dr. Graham. “While there, I gained extensive firsthand knowledge from physicians who were passionate about teaching. I valued the many hands-on procedures I was allowed to complete and appreciated the one-on-one learning environment.”
All together, the choices made by Dr. Graham positioned her to be a successful applicant in the 2015 National Residency Match Program® .
“If I had to do it all over again, I can say with utmost confidence that I would stick to my decision to attend AUC,” said Dr. Graham. “That’s how my dream came true.”