Abdulai Bangura is a third year student at Trinity School of Medicine and the first Caribbean medical student to be selected as an Orthopedic Surgery Research Fellow at the University of Maryland where he is currently serving.
Abdulai stayed true to caring nature and his desire to serve others and followed his passion to become a doctor all the way down to the Caribbean. He was motivated to pursue medicine after he overcame a health complication that threatened life as he knew it during high school. The physician and experience “was so impactful that I was inspired to do the same for others.” Abdulai had the “why” part of pursuing medicine, but unfortunately, his grades during his undergraduate years prevented his acceptance into traditional US-based medical schools. Determined to achieve his goal, he started investigating Caribbean schools and found Trinity. He saw Trinity was growing quickly and had the desired accreditation. The school peaked Abdulai’s interests, stating, “I gathered that the faculty was heavily invested in the growth of the school. I am glad to be a part of this growth. Trinity has continued to exceed their benchmarks… If I could go back in time, I’d choose Trinity again.”
Trinity strives to create a student focused learning environment that is continuously growing and providing the unique and challenging opportunities for their/our students. This started with the ability for Abdulai to go through training at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital during his Basic Science courses on the island of St. Vincent. This experience prepared him in many ways for what to expect during his current role, plus looking ahead to his third- and fourth-year rotations. The early exposure to clinical settings has given him the opportunity to see rare disorders and use that experience to publish case studies for research.
Trinity is an institution that will give you the opportunity to match with your specialty of choice. It is up to you to seize the opportunity.”
In his current role as an Orthopedic Surgery Research Fellow at the University of Maryland, a typical day for Abdulai starts at 6:30 am, doing morning rounds with the residents, attendings, and fellows. Rounds are followed by academics, which can include clinical lectures, clinical workshops and research lectures. Abdulai will complete two to three hours of academics each week with residents and fellows, but the majority of Abdulai’s day is spent doing research, devoting approximately 60 hours per week to the fellowship. He explains, “it is an intense program, but it comes with great reward including research publications with leading physicians, a vast amount of clinical experience, and a support system that facilitates matching in a competitive specialty.” He can also take advantage of the time he spends in the hospital and the clinic to see patients and enroll them in research projects. Abdulai is part of extensive research including, randomized control trials, systemic reviews, cohort studies, and case control studies. He is currently contributing to 20 research projects at the University of Maryland, seven where he is the primary author, and one of which was of his own design.
Looking back at his time on St. Vincent, Abdulai was able to work with physicians from the World Pediatric Project. He observed orthopedic cases, one in particular on a patient that had multiple fractures secondary to a genetic bone disorder – a disorder that he had recently learned about in class. Looking forward, as Abdulai starts his third year at Trinity, he plans to use everything that he learned during his basic science courses and this internship to excel during clerkships. His long-term goals are to match in Orthopedic Surgery and be a physician that is active in the research community.
Abdulai has two pieces of advice for current Trinity students and prospective students. First, to current Trinity students, “self-reflection is instrumental to your success. After your performance, review areas where you feel you could improve. Seek to improve those areas even if it involves asking for help. Speak with the upperclassmen who have had success in those areas and learn from them.” For those who may be considering Trinity to continue their medical education he says, “Trinity is an institution that will give you the opportunity to match with your specialty of choice. It is up to you to seize the opportunity.”
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