A First-Choice Match for Ashlyn Brown Means Heading Home to Texas
Ashlyn Brown had been a longtime basketball and volleyball coach and player — recruited by smaller Division One programs to play on their women’s basketball team before settling on Baylor University in Waco, TX for undergrad to focus on academics. Sports, naturopathic medicine, and health and wellness are just a few of her passions.
It was not until her third year of medical school at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), while caring for a stroke patient, that she shifted her thoughts from becoming an orthopedic surgeon to a career in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). She realized that because of her interest in sports, coaching, and now neurology, PM&R would be better suited for her.
“I realized it was all about putting the puzzle pieces together to discover what would work and what we needed to do to give patients their life back, to help them regain the independence they had lost,” says Brown. “I realized I could help patients do this, but also be there as their cheerleader, their champion to move forward.”
The 29-year-old Austin, TX native will now return to her undergraduate alma mater’s college of medicine in Houston later this month to start her residency in PM&R. When she opened her Match letter in March and found out she received her top pick, she wrote on her Facebook page:
“All I can say is this was nothing but God! Matching my #1 choice, a Top Ten Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation prestigious program is a dream come true! I am so grateful to have had my family and loved ones’ support along the way. Mama, I made it! Baylor, I’m coming home!
The ability to overcome adversity is what Brown describes as her greatest strength. During her basic science years at AUC, she began facing a series of challenges, including a temporary move to the United Kingdom following Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.
It was the support of my family and my faith that really helped me overcome the uncertainties. They helped me realize that I was only being tested to hold on until my blessings come.”
Shortly after returning to the United Kingdom in 2019 for her core clinical rotations, the COVID-19 pandemic hit while she was in Worthing, England. With her rotations on hold, Brown returned to Texas and decided to pursue a dual Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship degree at The Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas.
“I see myself as a doctor but also a doctor that might be consulting with venture capitalists or innovating in technology to improve the health delivery system,” says Brown. Adding to her Master of Science degree in Kinesiology, she hopes to complete both master’s programs in 2023.
Now, back home after graduating from AUC in October of 2021, she recently got a puppy, a Yorkipoo, named Ziggy. (He was named after the Jamaican musician Ziggy Marley). When she’s not studying, Brown can be found at her Cross-Fit gym doing high-intensity workouts, cooking vegan meals, and preparing for her USMLE Step Three exam.
Activities at AUC
While at AUC, she was involved in numerous research projects and served as the President and Vice President of the Black Medical Student Association. She also was a leader for the AUC Gym Committee, and editor for the medical school’s newspaper. Shortly before concluding her time with AUC, she founded the campus organization, AUC Physiatry, an organization dedicated to educating incoming medical students about physical medicine and rehabilitation and to provide them with the resources and knowledge she sought on her own. She has gone even further in registering the organization on the National American Association of Physiatry Interest Group database to give AUC official notoriety in physiatry. Brown aspires to provide AUC with enough recognition in PM&R to eventually grow AUC’s percentage of PM&R applicants and increase the number of those who Match into the specialty.
Her hope is to “reach back and pull through” by mentoring upcoming students.
“I’ve always loved to help people and now I am on that journey,” she says. “There’s been a lot of knockdowns along the way but if I can extend any advice to AUC students, I would say to follow your passion, do your research, and network. Reach out to AUC students who have gone on before you, people who have walked in your shoes, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Contact programs outside of the AUC network and express your interest. Ultimately, make a way for yourself, where there is no clear way. Lastly, make yourself the best applicant that you can possibly be in all aspects, not just your scores. I had eleven choices for my Match, and I got my number one. How blessed am I?”
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