On the Medical Fast Track

Bryn Mawr junior Amina Choudhry has her sights set on medical school

Amina Choudhry smiling, wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope

Amina Choudhry ’23 is a junior at Bryn Mawr from Elizabeth, N.J. She identifies as first-generation, low-income (FGLI) and is on the premed track. Last year, Choudhry was admitted to the Princeton-Rutgers Academic Clinical Experience Summer (ACES) Program, an early assurance pipeline program geared toward high-achieving students from groups that are underrepresented in medicine, have disadvantaged backgrounds, or are first-generation college students. The program was created in partnership with Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Princeton University and provides mentorship and an intensive internship experience.

Choudhry’s interest in medicine stems from the inequalities in healthcare she saw and experienced in her community. In her career, she wants to focus on addressing the social determinants of health and making healthcare more accessible to marginalized populations.

Choudhry is majoring in health, science, and social justice, an independent major that she created herself. Her goal is to “tackle the more complex questions facing physicians, including what role they should play in society, politics, and promotion of social justice.” Her coursework has encompassed a wide variety of classes including biochemistry, anatomy, neuroscience, anthropology, critical disability studies, and applied ethics.

In her sophomore year, Choudhry enrolled in a class at Villanova to become an emergency medical technician (EMT). The course was intense—she attended class for 12-plus hours every Saturday as well as studying throughout the week—but it gave Choudhry valuable hands-on experience in patient care and clinical work. She was able to participate in ride-alongs with Narberth Ambulance and will soon begin volunteering with the fire station in an official capacity.

Around the same time that Choudhry was taking the EMT course, her pre-health advisor, Assistant Dean Gail Glicksman, suggested she apply to the ACES program.

The program’s internship portion involves courses on topics such as microscopic tissue structures, anatomy, and physiology, and includes a cadaver lab. Students also attend lunch lectures by different kinds of physicians, such as pediatricians and cardiovascular surgeons, and they can shadow physicians on telehealth appointments.

In addition to participating in the internship, applicants must complete several exams and go through a second round of interviews to gain admittance to Rutgers Medical School. Though the program is intense and competitive, it allows participants to circumvent the traditional medical school application process.

Says Choudhry, “Nobody can ever truly be prepared for the beast that is medical school, but I firmly believe ACES has given me a head start on what it means to be in a medical school environment.”

This semester, Choudhry is taking STEM classes in biology and physics as well as classes on prison abolition and radical medicine. She feels these classes augment her experience in ACES by allowing her to move beyond the biological dimensions of illness and focus on how illness, health, and healing are embedded in society, politics, and culture.

“It is not good enough for a doctor to simply know the appropriate medication to prescribe or diagnostic test to order,” she says. “I believe as a physician it is vital to fully understand how social constructs such as class, gender, and race mold medical decisions and, in turn, affect how patients experience their care. For me
it’s not simply an emblazoned white coat but rather actively and continuously committing myself to combatting the social determinants of health.”