Sports Neurologist Learned 'Confidence and Competence' at AUC

Kate Essad, MD ’12, a sports neurology fellow in Brighton, Michigan, knew that AUC was the right school for her the first time she saw it.


“I had gotten into several medical schools but when I went down to St. Maarten for a campus visit, I felt like I belonged there,” says Dr. Essad. 

AUC, she says, appealed to her adventurous spirit and her penchant for taking the road less traveled. “I thought that being nontraditional was a challenge that would make me better and more proud of my accomplishments,” she says. 

AUC Prepared Her to Handle “Absolutely Anything”

Her first impressions turned out to be on target. 

“After attending AUC, I felt like I was intimately prepared to handle absolutely anything,” she says. “Being farther from home was a challenge, being in a new country was a challenge – all those things helped me develop the ability to adapt more easily to any environment. Thanks to what I learned both inside and outside the classroom, I can interact with people no matter their background, and can find a way to relate to them.”

Dr. Essad completed her neurology residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. During her time at Dartmouth, Dr. Essad was recognized with the Murray B. Bornstein Research Award and the James Bernat Quality Improvement Award, and she taught a course on concussion at the Geisel School of Medicine. Today, as a fellow at the Sports Neurology Clinic, she specializes in the treatment of concussion, post-concussion syndrome, and neurological disorders in athletes. 

A Collaborative Approach to Medical School

Dr. Essad says that she especially appreciates the relationships she formed with AUC faculty and her peers. “Whether you’re the smartest person in the class or you’re struggling on an exam, everyone is there to support you," she says. "There’s a sense of everyone fighting together to succeed. I don’t think that is necessarily how people picture medical school.”

Even after graduation, she says, fellow AUC graduates look out for one another and offer each other places to stay when on the interview trail or during rotations. “It’s a network, a web, of AUC.”

She completed the majority of her clinical rotations at Providence Hospital and St. John’s in her home state of Michigan, which allowed her to save money by staying with her family. She felt that it also prepared her well for her residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock.  “I feel very well respected by all of my colleagues, my attending, and the administration,” Dr. Essad says. “I think my confidence in my medical knowledge and competence in my choices are all things I learned at AUC.”

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