Elizabeth Baltaro, an MD student at TUSM
Name: Elizabeth Baltaro
Home Town: Rome, Italy
Year: 4th year
Prior Education & Degrees:
Guilford College – Greensboro, North Carolina
BA, Religious Studies major and Visual Art minor
Specialty: Family Medicine
What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine?
Immediately after graduating from college, I planned to become a classroom teacher. I considered graduate school but decided to join the Peace Corps first. For 2 ¼ years I served as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in rural Ukraine. During my Peace Corps service I realized that my favorite moments were helping friends and neighbors with their health challenges, which were complicated by poverty and minimal access to medical care. I had found a passion that I had not previously known I had, and returned to the USA on a new career path that encompasses teaching, service and health care.
What made you decide to come to Tufts?
I completed Tufts post-baccalaureate premedical program at the undergraduate campus in Medford.. I was interested in living in Boston, which was a new city for me. Tufts School of Medicine seemed to have a friendly sense of community, and more support for people interested in primary care. Tufts was a good fit for me.
What's been the best part of medical school so far?
The clinical experiences have challenged and thrilled me! I have so many wonderful stories and memories. I liked my “Interviewing” class during 1st year, learning physical diagnosis in my 1st and 2nd years, and all my clinical rotations. It has been especially interesting to see my classmates and myself grow as our knowledge and confidence increase.
How did you make it through your first year?
It was hard to stay balanced. I enjoy many things outside of medicine – traveling, cooking, art, music, just to name a few. And as a non-science major, I had to study quite a bit during my first year because there was a lot to learn. Poetry and reflective writing proved to be important creative outlets as I struggled to bring balance to my life.
What is your favorite thing about being in Boston and why?
It’s hard to pick one thing. Overall I enjoy the intellectual culture, American history and international flare. I like the friends I’ve made here, the intellectual conversations that seem to take place almost anywhere, the variety of restaurants, using public transportation, art museums, the symphony and opera, and the best 4th of July fireworks I’ve ever seen. Even the winter has started growing on me!
What advice do you have for aspiring medical students?
Work hard, but find other healthy interests that deepen and expand your life and give you something other than medical studies to focus on. Perfection may not be not possible - but reflection and self-improvement are.