Trinity School of Medicine has always prided itself on the strength and ambition of its students. So many of our future physicians come our way looking for something new; whether that’s a unique learning environment built on support and a strong relationship with the faculty, a curriculum with an emphasis on clinical skills and service to patients, or just a fresh start. In this next edition of our alumni spotlight, meet Dr. Kendra Allen, chief resident of family medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.
After graduating from Emory University, Dr. Allen was looking for two things from her immediate future: a path into medicine and a chance to study abroad. The opportunity to travel and Trinity’s focus on student development and helping students meet their full and perhaps previously unrealized potential caught her eye, and she found herself soon packing for St. Vincent.
Dr. Allen’s path to Trinity is a bit different than many of our students. Her work during her undergrad was research intensive (dementia, disassociation, and memory function), her interest in medicine came from that same place: she appreciated the practical research opportunities a career in medicine would provide. It’s worth noting this is atypical of Trinity students. While we have many students with a keen interest in research (prior spotlight Dr. Christopher Saling is a great example of this) it is rarely their initial inspiration towards an MD. To that end, Trinity’s focus is on the practical elements of medicine; we teach students to rise to the challenges and rewards of patient care. This brought up an obvious question: Did Dr. Allen feel limited by Trinity’s focus on clinical work?
In her own words, “Slightly, yes. However, back then, it wasn’t a major part of Trinity’s education. I didn’t have a lot of time to work on research, but I think there were opportunities to get on board with projects on the island back then; it’s very easy to make a research project happen at Trinity, other students did it. Of course, once we go into our clinical rotations, the door opens much wider, people wanting help with research. All it takes is asking at that point.”
Dr. Allen, now serving as chief resident of family medicine in Detroit, has reconnected with her interest for research and is currently applying for fellowships in hospice and palliative care, once again exemplefying Trinity’s spirit of caring.
Detroit and Residency
Based on Dr. Allen’s experiences in her clinical rotations in Chicago (Ed. Note: Trinity’s primary clerkship program is now based in Baltimore. MD while Chicago remains an option for some students.), she found herself incredibly drawn towards the complex urban diversity, case mix, case complexity, and patient interaction. Seeking more of the same at a higher level for her residency, she sought in her residency, “There’s a high challenge factor. It’s also a great hospital. The access to cases and patients and resources, as well as the convenience of formalized resident housing, there were so many factors that brought me where I am today.”
Family Medicine and the Opportunity for Growth
Dr. Allen is very upfront about her choice of residency. “Because I get bored! I need that variety to stay interested. With family medicine, I also have the opportunity to do OB and pediatrics, which has its own extra level of challenge. It also provides a great opportunity to be a leader in the field. I felt initially and continue to see how a lot of specialties can be a limiter.”
A Message to Students Considering Trinity School of Medicine
Dr. Allen closed the conversation on the following message to students just starting at, or even considering Trinity School of Medicine: “Going into the process, you’re on the fence about what’s going to happen. Stick to it. Do your work. Trinity’s pathway will be a success. I know it might seem scary at first to commit to a Caribbean school, but make a good impression during clinicals, nail your boards, and that pathway is there.”
We’re looking forward to more stories of success from Dr. Allen and her colleagues. As always, we could not be more proud of our Trinity graduates out there making a positive change however they can.