Charter Class Scholarship Recipients
2019: Andrew Brown
As a medical student at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Omar Salman had learned a lot about cancer: from what goes wrong at the cellular level to cause it as well as patient risk factors and treatment options.
Through the school’s patient-centered curriculum, Salman had explored real patients’ cancer experiences through clinical, scientific, and emotional lenses.
But cancer became something new when Salman got his own diagnosis of bone marrow cancer near the end of his second year of study. “I didn't know what to do next. The school administration is great, but what am I supposed to tell them? I might be dying? It was weird,” Salman said. “You are torn between feeling like you are asking for special treatment but then you realize, I have cancer. Why am I so worried about school?”
Jay Patel’s path to medicine begins with the heart — specifically one that belonged to his sister. Patel was 5-years-old when his twin sisters were born. One had Tetralogy of Fallot, a rare condition when a baby is born with four heart defects.
“She's had numerous procedures done, including four open-heart surgeries. For some reason, every time there would be a complication. All of the stuff they warn you could happen after surgery, seemed to happen to her all of the time,” said Patel, a second-year student at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “But when that happened, the health care team was immediately responsive and did everything they could to help her. She got through all of that. Now, she's in college. That was my first real exposure to medicine.”