Now practicing in Dallas, Dayron is a recent alumnus of the Mass General Urology residency. The following are his reflections on his experience at Mass General.
I did not have what most would consider the typical path to Harvard Medical School and Mass General. I was born in Cuba and lived there until age 13 when my family moved to Miami. I did not speak English when I first moved to the United States and my parents did not have the financial resources to pay for private schools. I worked two jobs while I was a student at University of Miami, one of which was at a research lab. It made me realize that I really wanted to apply the science I was learning, and volunteering at a couple of hospitals helped me to be sure that medical school was the right path for me.
I first heard about Mass General’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) when I was at Harvard Medical School. CDI sponsored the activities of a group in which I was active: MeSLA (Medical Students of Las Americas). MeSLA’s (now the Latino Medical Students Association) members work to benefit the Latino community in Greater Boston and one of its activities is helping Latino students prepare for and apply to medical school. CDI and its Resident and Fellow Committee often reached out asking for help with community outreach. Volunteering at a Latino health fair in Boston was an eye-opening experience. Many of the patients we saw had not seen a physician in a long time.
I fully realized how amazing Mass General is when I did a rotation as a Urology student. Across every department, people are motivated, driven and at the top of their professions. I learned so much and loved the environment. It was then that I first thought about staying in Boston and doing my residency at Mass General. Initially, Boston winters were a shock, but now I look forward to the seasons and I love that it is such a walkable city. In Miami, you have to drive everywhere.
When I was a first-year resident, Mass General hosted the National Leadership Institute – a conference for college and medical students affiliated with the Student National Medical Association. CDI put together the whole weekend, recruiting speakers who were residents, physicians and nurses – all underrepresented in medicine – who have made very big contributions to medicine and research. For Latino and Hispanic students who might be intimidated by a place like Mass General, I think it was a very inspiring event. The speakers really did a good job of communicating to the students that if they dream big and work hard, there is no career in health or medicine that is out of their reach.
As a second-year resident, I was part of the Resident and Fellow Committee board. Twice during that year we met with Peter Slavin, our hospital president. He wanted to hear from us about how Mass General could provide a more welcoming environment to residents and fellows and further their careers. It is this leadership support that makes the CDI so successful. In fact, the CDI’s office is located at the bottom of the staircase to the Ether Dome, a very significant place in the history of the hospital where anesthesia was publicly demonstrated in surgery for the first time. This location is emblematic of how important CDI is at Mass General.