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CMU medical students look to upcoming residency placements with excitement

Hillary Cullison. (Courtesy Photo)

After four years of studying, Match Day seems like the final pay-off for medical students. 

On Match Day, which took place in March, Central Michigan University’s medical students found out where they will be practicing medicine for the next three to eight years of their lives in residency. It’s a day fill with nervousness, excitement and tears when they finally open their letter.

Now that Match Day has passed, students are looking forward to graduation and moving across the state or country to begin their residency. Beginning this next step can be intimidating, but each CMU medical student has their own reasons for continuing to pursue this career. 

Working for the underserved 

Katherine Roach. (Courtesy Photo)

Fourth year Cincinnati, Ohio medical student Katherine Roach was working in the Milwaukee Public School system as a science teacher when she realized she may be called to do something else. 

She worked with underserved students and began to notice that because the kids didn’t have healthcare, they would go to the emergency room when they got sick. Sometimes, a kid would have a preexisting condition like asthma and they couldn’t get treatment for their condition, she said. Consequently, she recalled that it could keep a kid out of school for days, if not weeks. 

“I felt really helpless as a teacher,” Roach said. “I couldn’t do anything when these kids were sick at home because they couldn’t get healthcare, and it was frustrating for me.”

That’s when Roach decided that she wanted to transition from being a teacher to a doctor so she could help underserved communities like her students. 

Fast forward to four years later, and she will soon begin her residency at New York University in emergency medicine, where she hopes to be able to help individuals whose only option is to go to the emergency room for healthcare. 

Roach said she didn’t think she had a chance at being accepted to the program. However, she was elated when she opened the small white envelope on Match Day.  

She shared that while at NYU, she will primarily be working at Bellevue Hospital, which is a public hospital that serves the neediest individuals, including the prison population. 

“It’s a really great fit for me because they serve the exact population I wanted to work with,” Roach said. 

After Roach’s four years in residency, she hopes to become a teaching doctor, where she can combine both her passion for medicine and teaching. 

Serving our nation 

Hillary Cullison. (Courtesy Photo)

Even as a little girl, fourth-year Tucson, Arizona medical student Hillary Cullison always loved serving others. 

“I want to be a police officer,” she would tell friends and family. 

That was until one day when she realized she actually wanted to be a doctor. For a while, she couldn’t figure out how she could both serve people and be a doctor.

That was when it dawned on Cullison that she could be a doctor in the army. 

After completing medical school and training for the army, Cullison will begin her residency in June at Fort Hood near Austin, Texas in family medicine. This was her first choice for residency. 

With this practice, she hopes to serve families in the military but primarily wants to be there for women. 

“Women are underrepresented in a lot of areas, but particularly in the army,” Cullison said. “I want them to feel like they have a safe place to get healthcare.”

Cullison explained that most doctors in the army will stay in the United States and take care of active military members and their families. However, she hopes that she can be deployed at least twice in her career and work as a doctor in a war zone. 

“Part of the reason why I chose the program down in Austin is that they prepare people to be deployable,” Cullison said. 

She said she is thankful for her fiancé, who is also in the army and supports her dreams of deployment.

Relying on faith

Brad Demijohn. (Courtesy Photo)

Going through medical school while raising three kids would be no easy task, but Saginaw medical student Bradley Demijohn managed to make it work. It’s all thanks to his faith, he said. 

“We pretty much cover everything with prayer these days, and I don’t think that we would have gotten through these last few years without our faith,” Demijohn said. 

Prior to medical school, Demijohn was a nurse, but he wanted to be the leader of the team in the hospital. Therefore, he decided medical school was the route for him.

However, one thing Demijohn really loved about nursing was being able to connect with his patients. He missed that aspect during a lot of his clinical rotations. The only time he really felt that connection was in psychiatry. 

“I just immediately found that there was a level of connection with my patients in psychiatry that was unparalleled in other areas of medicine,” Demijohn said.

Therefore, he will be beginning his residency in June at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids for psychiatry. 

Demijohn is excited to finally begin focusing on what he has been called to do, but he said he is a bit nervous about the first year in residency because he could be working 80+ hours a week for a few weeks in a row. 

Having a family and working extreme hours can be intimidating. However, he is still looking forward to his residency and knows that once it begins, his faith will carry him through.