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How Research Led to Awesome Residencies

Earning a residency is a challenging and highly competitive process for U.S. and Caribbean medical school graduates alike, but it’s not impossible for high-achievers to obtain their dream residencies. Find out how AUA alumni made the most of their research opportunities and secured prestigious residencies.

Dr. Michael Talarico (Class of 2014)

Radiology-Diagnostic Resident

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dr. Talarico emphasizes that his experience as a Teaching Assistant (TA) not only “molded his career as a medical student,” but was also an “advantage for residency applications [because] there’s a big focus on teaching during residency.” Dr. Talarico recommends using your time as a clinical student to collaborate with physicians and fellow residents on research projects. By doing so, he was able to get a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) from a highly respected radiologist, which certainly distinguished his application.  He also urges grads to opt out of screening their LORs and, when interviewing, to spend more time providing a sense of their character and career goals, rather than listing their credentials.

Dr. Regina Krel (Class of 2011)

Headache Medicine Fellow

Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Harvard Headache Medicine at John R. Graham Headache Center

Dr. Krel became passionate about headache medicine because “there have been so many recent revelations in the pathophysiology and treatment of headaches.” She earned this prestigious fellowship mainly due to her extensive research experience and academic success during her neurology and internal medicine residencies. Her work on basilar and hemiplegic migraines was published in the acclaimed peer-reviewed journal Neurology and she was the second author on an abstract about tumefactive MS in the elderly.

Dr. Radbeh Torabi (Class of 2010)

Integrated Plastic Surgery Resident

Louisiana State University

Dr. Torabi is the only Caribbean medical school graduate to acquire this position. Like Dr. Talarico, he also places a huge emphasis on research. Instead of going straight to residency after graduating, Dr. Torabi completed a two-year research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Transplantation Biology Research Center, which then led to a general surgery residency at the same hospital. He admits that general surgery is especially competitive at the moment and advises grads not to underestimate the value of research prior to residency. During his fellowship he became familiar with Mass General’s physicians and staff and had proven his work ethic and ever-expanding knowledge of his field, which put him at ease when interviewing. After completing two years of general surgery, Dr. Torabi then matched to LSU’s integrated plastic surgery residency program.

Dr. Radmehr Torabi (Class of 2009)

Neurosurgery Resident

Brown University-Rhode Island Hospital

Like his older brother Radbeh, Dr. Radmehr Torabi secured his residency after completing a research fellowship at Brown University. While Radmehr and Radbeh both earned nearly perfect scores on the USMLE Step 1, they maintain that their research fellowships led them to pursue their specific residencies. Dr. Torabi encourages medical schools to “take nothing for granted but pursue every opportunity as a learning experience because you never know where it will lead.”

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