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. Christopher Saling, associate chief resident of internal medicine at St. Michael’s Medical Center in New Jersey.
When we spoke it had not yet been formally announced, but we’re very excited to add that Dr. Saling is also about to begin an infectious disease fellowship with the Mayo Clinic in Arizona!
Dr. Saling’s path into medicine is, like so many of Trinity’s alums, a journey all its own. After graduating from college and transitioning to a career as a trader on Wall St., it didn’t take long for Chris to realize that his dream of going into medicine was something more; it was a calling. His family agrees. His godfather, a major influence on his life, is a physician, and according to the pile of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” assignments his mother has saved from his childhood, the answer was always the same: “A doctor.”
Dr. Saling describes his transition into Wall St. as, “the easy path, laid out in front of him.” But, even with an established career in finance, like most Trinity students, he wasn’t one to shy away from a challenge. He got to work on post-baccalaureate classes in biology and chemistry (shoring up his undergraduate background in science thanks to his physics degree). By age 24, he was off to Trinity, even earning a scholarship upon acceptance.
Trinity was a transformative experience for Saling. His time on the island exposed him to an entirely new world of cultures, customs, and ways of life. In his own words, he changed for the better, his parents even describing him as, “Like a different person” when he came home from that first year abroad.
When Dr. Saling finished his clinical rotations, he once again paved his own road. He opted out of the residency match completely that first year. While his Step 1 score was strong, he’d yet to take his Step 2 and wanted “all of his ducks in a row” before moving forward, feeling the need to stand out ahead of the pack. With a year ahead of him, he took an externship at St. Michael’s and set to work showing off all he’d learned at Trinity. This, of course, leads to his receiving an offer of a residency from the institution the following year. His performance was, as expected, strong, and he was asked to finish his time with St. Michael’s by serving as associate chief resident of internal medicine.
Like most of Trinity’s students, Dr. Saling isn’t particularly good at sitting idle. (Picture right, Dr. Saling accepting his diploma from Trinity chancellor Dr. Skelton).
After an encounter with the Manchineel Tree’s toxic sap on a brief vacation after an exam during his basic sciences, he and a colleague documented the event and got it published in The Journal of Travel Medicine. This trend continued through his externship year at St. Michael’s. He has a paper on hepatitis C under review at Liver International, and he and his colleagues have been invited to the Mayo Clinic to present a case report (on which Dr. Saling was a primary author) at the 13th annual Infectious Disease Fellows Forum on April 29th, 2016.
(Update: Dr. Saling’s dedication to infectious disease and research has paid off. He will be joining the Mayo Clinic in Arizona as an infectious disease fellow in 2019!)
Congratulations, Dr. Saling. You and your fellow graduates are a testament to the opportunity Trinity offers and we’re so glad to have been a part of your education. Our sincere thanks to you and all of our other alums, out there working as physicians and spreading the excitement for all Trinity has to offer students of all stripes, from those heading to medical school right after undergrad or those that find their own way.
No matter who you are, remember: a future in medicine is your mission, our purpose.