Omar Taweh; University of Connecticut class of 2019; Major: Physiology and neurobiology, Psychology; Minor: HUman rights; University of Massachusetts Chan School of Medicine MD program class of 2024
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Why did you choose to pursue a career in healthcare?

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 10 years old and I've been surrounded by medicine ever since, which has led me to be interested in the field of medicine. During undergrad, I became extremely active in advocacy and activism—I quickly learned afterwards that working in the field of healthcare, particularly as a physician, would afford me the knowledge and education to best advocate for the health of all people. I now aim to complete my residency and work in health policy/NGO sector either domestically or internationally.

What were some meaningful extracurricular activities that you were involved in while at UConn?

University Student Government (USG), Public Relations Director
Presidents Council on Race and Diversity, Founding Member
Club Track and Field, Vice President
Nutmeg Publishing and Yearbook, Photographer and Magazine Managing Editor

What were some challenges you have faced along your healthcare journey so far, and how have you overcome them?

I am a queer Arab and growing up, this created a lot of instability with the support I was finding from my family. I learned through this experience, among others, how to find people that you can lean on both professionally, and personally. I now take this skill with me wherever I go. I have also had a number of health issues arise during medical school, in part due to my T1D, that have forced me to re-evaluate how I take care of myself as a future physician and advocate.

What did you do during your growth year(s) and what did you learn?

I spent one year (ish) doing research in Amman on the mental health of adolescent refugees. Due to COVID, that experience ended early and I spent the remainder of the gap year working as a medical assistant at a Dermatology Clinic in Quincy, MA.

What are some ways that you take care of your mental health and overall wellbeing?

I go running very often to relieve my ADHD symptoms. I practice feeling not guilty when taking time for myself. I also do work community work with local displaced populations to give me a sense of purpose outside of medical school.

What advice do you have for aspiring pre-health students?

It's much easier said than done but, please do what makes you immediately happy while also balancing the stressful things that will lead to long term happiness. The world doesn't need you to take everything on, the world needs you to bring all that you can to the things you are best at.

What’s something you wish you knew in college?

The extra four hours of studying to improve your score by a fraction of a percentage would have been much better spent taking care of myself, in whatever capacity.