Since 2014, The Hartford Medical Society has proudly endowed a medical student scholarship through the UConn Foundation each year. Scholarships are given to first-year medical students and fellows, supporting the next generation of doctors. This year, UConn alumni Catriana Hersey was the sole recipient of the scholarship.
Catriana moved to Connecticut during high school after growing up in Athens, NY. She attended UConn, graduating in 2021 with a degree in biomedical engineering, and then applied to medical school. However, she utilized her gap year for training for her paramedic license.
Recently, HMS sat down with Catriana to discuss the scholarship’s impact on her journey and the importance of getting involved.
HMS: How does this funding from the scholarship help you?
Catriana: During my undergrad at UConn, I worked as an EMT with three different ambulance companies to help pay for college. Aside from working long hours, I worked through the most challenging times during the pandemic. The HMS scholarship will enable me to spend less time working and more time dedicated to medical school studies and activities that will help me grow into a medical professional ready and able for the lifelong commitment to service, learning, and advancing the medical field.
HMS: What drew you to this field of study?
Catriana: As an EMT and a paramedic, I have limited clinical interventions, yet I have still made an impact on the lives of my patients. I will never forget the importance of compassion, empathy, and communication which form the foundation of patient care. Through the mundane of routine and the adrenaline rush of emergency, I have embraced the lifestyle of the medical profession and come to understand that it is a lifelong journey. My experience as an EMT was only the first step to becoming a doctor. Paramedic school expanded my clinical skills in preparation for medical school. As a physician, I will continue my dedication to underserved communities working to improve health care and providing compassionate culturally competent care. Simply put, I am passionate about service to others, continuous learning, working with teams built from multiple disciplines, and improving the quality of life for all of society.
HMS: What is your favorite medical artifact?
Catriana: The stethoscope has been around since 1816 and today, it is still the most relevant first line medical diagnostic tool used throughout the world. It has also become the one item everyone around the world associates with the identity of a medical professional. It was the first thing I used as an EMT, and it will be carried with me in my career as a doctor.
HMS: Why should others get involved with the Hartford Medical Society?
Catriana: Collaboration, learning and advancing the medical field. As a medical student, I’m sure I will face challenges new to me but conquered by others. HMS members willing to share their wisdom to help current and future medical professionals become their best and advance medicine are invaluable treasures. The more we expand medical conversations, knowledge and experience, the better medicine can serve humanity.
Catriana enjoys dancing, dogs, horses, and working in prehospital emergency medicine when not in school or studying. While she attends medical school, Catriana plans to continue working in the local community as a paramedic in Hartford.
We applaud Catriana for all her hard work in her medical career and can’t wait to see all the incredible feats she will accomplish!