In this edition of our alumni spotlight, we are proud to showcase Dr. Andrea Folds. Dr. Folds is a native of Florida, and is what some would consider a non-traditional student. She left her first career as a successful accountant to follow her passion and become a physician. While researching Caribbean medical schools, she looked at them all, and Dr. Folds says she could not be happier with deciding to attend Trinity. ” Trinity provides you with everything you need.” Dr. Folds adds she did not face any hurdles as an IMG, landing a residency at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center in South Florida. It’s worth noting, this was her first choice for matching! Get to know more about Dr. Folds and her journey.
What’s your academic background?
Initially, I obtained a degree in accounting and worked in that field for many years. Needless to say, I was completely unfulfilled and bored. I knew that I wanted to pursue medicine in the future, but our family was growing, and life was moving forward quickly. As my two youngest boys finally reached elementary school, I embraced that moment and made the decision to go back to school and obtained my bachelor’s degree in biology from Indian River State College. Of course, upon completion, I applied to medical schools in Florida and was not able to secure an interview.
What brought you into medicine?
Various experiences continually drew me to medicine over the years. There was my father-in-law, who had quadruple bypass surgery and an abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, which ultimately led to his demise. The most significant event, however, was when our second son was born with coarctation of the aorta and ventricular septal defect. That experience not only catalyzed my desire to enter into the medicine, but it solidified my desire to become a cardiologist. Medicine is the best of both worlds. It provides intellectual stimulation, and, more importantly, it provides fulfillment of serving others.
Why did you choose Trinity and what ultimately helped you make the decision?
When I received an email from Trinity, I had already accepted the fact that I would have to wait another year to apply to medical school. Honestly, I initially dismissed the email because I wasn’t considering a Caribbean school. Nevertheless, the thought kept crossing my mind, so I decided to do some research online. As I searched, compared and contrasted each of the larger, more well-known schools against Trinity. There was just something about Trinity that attracted me. I loved the small intimate classes, the island life, and the curriculum.
Moreover, I watched videos of prior students and witnessed their success, which was reassuring. Also, another important issue was accreditation. When I interviewed, I was pleased to know that they were CAAM-HP accredited. After much deliberation and prayer, I knew that I was destined for Trinity. We decided to take the chance, sell our home, and move the family to the island! I could not be more thankful for that decision. My experience at Trinity has been incredible. Everyone from the administration to faculty, to preceptors, has been extremely kind and supportive throughout the entire process. I always say that everything happens for a reason, and I know that Trinity is where I was meant to be!
What was the transition like from where you moved from, compared to living on the island and studying abroad?
Well, we had to sell everything back home and move the entire family to the island. At that time, we had to find housing off-campus, and the place we were renting only had air conditioning in the bedrooms, so that was quite the experience. After the first semester, my family had to go back to the states for various reasons, so I finished my time on the island without them. That was the most difficult transition! I felt guilty and missed them terribly. Your children only grow up once, but I had to make that short-term sacrifice for the long-term goal. Looking back, I would do it all again!
Do you have any stand-out memories, stories, experiences regarding your time at Trinity?
Wow, there are so many! The entire experience was truly incredible! I would say being able to experience the people and culture of the island was life-changing. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn medicine within a different culture. It broadened my perspective and built greater empathy for others. The people are great! It was also eye-opening to see the disparities in medicine compared to that of the states. Nevertheless, I was honored to be a part of serving the community and hope to serve again in the future.
Where did you match?
I matched at my top choice, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center in Aventura, FL. I start on July 1st and am looking forward to a long, fulfilling career in medicine!
Best advice you’d share with a prospective Trinity student?
I would say focus your mindset towards the greatest goal, which is to learn as much as you can to be the very best physician for your patients! That mindset helped to drive my motivation to excel. It takes the focus off of yourself and puts it on the true purpose, which is to serve others. Another piece of advice is to work hard, but make time for fun and relaxation! I found that when I did this, I performed better.
Anything you’d like to add?
If you are on the fence as to whether a Caribbean school is right for you, I would strongly consider joining the Trinity family. The experience will enrich every part of your life and help you live your dream of becoming a physician. I would like to say a huge “Thank you!” to everyone at Trinity who has been a part of this journey and has shown great support through it all!
If you have made the decision to take your first step to medical practice, we invite you to consider Trinity as the one school that will invest personally and professionally in you with your success as its core mission.