The first class of AUA College of Medicine students has graduated from Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s (FIU HWCOM) Clinical Clerkship Certificate Program.

In 2013, AUA and FIU HWCOM signed a landmark agreement allowing qualified AUA students to complete all their core and elective rotations at clinical sites affiliated with FIU HWCOM.  Through this program, AUA students are able to participate in rotations with and be evaluated by FIU HWCOM faculty, access FIU academic and recreational facilities, and be exposed to top national and international faculty and guest speakers. Students who complete the program receive an FIU certificate program transcript sponsored by HWCOM and a Certificate of Completion, which indicates that they have completed their rotations at sites approved by FIU HWCOM.

AUA students Nicole Cohen, Jackeline Vajita Gomez, and Garry Mann, along with their colleagues Jeremy Sawh and Raihaan Khattak, were some of the first to complete the FIU Clinical Clerkship Certificate Program. Their colleagues include Jeremy Sawh and Raihaan Khattak. Cohen earned high honors in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Family, and Internal Medicine.

“I chose this one-of-a-kind program because I like the convenience that comes with having back-to-back rotations at clinical sites located in one city,” Cohen said. An interest in medicine runs in her family. Her father, Dr. Jacob Cohen, is a urologist in Dade County, and her brother, Tal Cohen, is also an AUA student. In fact, it was her brother’s experience at AUA that inspired her to apply to the school.

“I wanted to attend a school that offers an education on par with U.S. medical school standards,” Cohen said. “AUA was the perfect match for me.”

Cohen is interested in earning an OB/GYN or pediatric endocrinology residency and will participate in the 2016 Match. Despite the competitiveness of the match season, she believes she’ll have a leg up since she took part in the FIU Clinical Clerkship Certificate program.

“AUA has given me so many opportunities and being able to participate in excellent clinical rotations close to home was a godsend,” Cohen said. “I highly recommend the FIU Clinical Clerkship Certificate program to every AUA student.”

Fellow FIU graduate Jackeline Vajita Gomez was born in Cartagena, Colombia, but was raised in Miami. From the age of seven, she dreamed of becoming a physician. She decided to participate in the FIU program because it would bring her close to her hometown. After studying abroad for two years, she enjoyed being able to see her family regularly. Gomez actually attended FIU for her undergraduate studies and knew from experience that she would receive an excellent education.

“It was great to able to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the best times in my life,” Gomez said.

Along with Cohen, she will participate in the 2016 Match.  Ultimately, she feels the FIU program will make her a more competitive applicant. She highly recommends it to all students considering the program.

“I think we can all agree it’s not every day that a foreign medical school graduate gets to be part of such a unique medical program, so you will absolutely stand out,” Gomez said.

Garry Mann attributes his success at FIU to his early clinical experience at AUA. The skill he demonstrated gave his teachers the confidence to involve him in limited medical procedures not typically performed by clinical students. He admits that one of the challenges he faced was communicating with patients who spoke only Spanish, but acknowledges the staff, who were always happy to help him overcome the language barrier. “They’re more than willing to help a clinical student in need,” Mann said.

The success of these students in FIU’s Clinical Clerkship Certificate Program may give them more opportunities to earn residencies than other Caribbean medical school graduates. To learn more about the FIU program, please visit: