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Match Day 2017: How her grandma’s end inspired this young doctor’s new beginning

Each year, soon-to-be graduating medical students count down to the third Friday in March, also known as “Match Day,” when they find out where they will continue their medical training. Lauren Kelly, a fifth-year MD/MPH candidate in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, describes how caring for her family members informed her own path.

kelly2As the first doctor-in-training in my family, I never have a shortage of health questions and concerns to address. I field questions about treatment for bipolar disorder, which rears its head among my family, and about the types of food everyone should be eating. My phone rings when my grandpa’s legs are swollen or when my step-mom has nosebleeds from her nasal cannula oxygen. I’m on calls with physicians to discuss care plans for my loved ones when they’re hospitalized, and I’m everyone’s favorite person to take to their medical appointments. While at times, providing this type of medical advice can feel a bit like “always being on call,” it’s also my passion. I am pursing residency training in Primary Care Internal Medicine—the specialty that trains you in, well, everything.

I began my tenure as the caregiver in my family at a young age, as I watched and tried to navigate my father’s challenges with drug addiction. To this day, we count our successes as a team: stretches of sobriety, cure from Hepatitis C, new job opportunities. My mother, a Cuban immigrant and single parent for many years, was my first mentor; working long hours to give me a first-rate education. 

The pursuit of knowledge and understanding, learned and creative, was always the way I picked myself up when the world around me had little semblance of order. As a young person, I imagined there was no limit to what I could know. Back then, I never would have guessed that my future medical training would involve a great deal of unlearning. 

Read the rest of Lauren’s blog on and follow Lauren and the rest of PSOM’s class of 2017 using #PSOMMatch to stay updated as Match Day approaches.  

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