Sarah Miller

Sarah MillerName: Sarah Miller
Hometown: Grapevine, TX
Year in Medical School: MS2
Undergraduate School: University of Rhode Island
Graduate School: University of Michigan

Sarah Miller, a second-year medical student at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. Before coming to medical school, Sarah worked as an EMT in Fort Worth, Texas, and received her Master of Public Health in Global Health Epidemiology at the University of Michigan. Though she has lived all over the country, Sarah considers Grapevine, Texas, her hometown. She currently serves as the Student Government Association Treasurer, a Student Ambassador, and the Immediate Past President of the Texas Medical Association/American Medical Association chapter. Sarah’s research interests include global health and the ways in which barriers to healthcare can be addressed in underserved communities both in the U.S. and abroad.

Do you serve on any student interest groups/organizations/activities? If so, which one(s)?
I currently serve as the Student Government Association Treasurer, a Student Ambassador, and the Immediate Past President of the Texas Medical Association/American Medical Association (TMA/AMA) chapter. I am a part of the SafeMD, Big Sib/Little Sib, and Research Symposium Committees and am involved in several student-led research projects. I also recently served on the inaugural Gala Committee.

What inspired you to become a doctor? When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?
I didn’t know that I wanted to be a doctor until I was almost done with my undergraduate degree. For most of my life I was adamant that I was going to be a marine biologist, but after a research project on cancer in sea urchins I became interested in the ways that marine organisms could be used as model systems for human disease. This newfound interest inspired me to take a public health class while circumnavigating the globe on the Semester at Sea program where I was able to visit the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Standing in the operating theater where the first heart transplant was successfully completed made me realize that I wanted to not only be a part of improving health and decreasing disparities at a population level, but also to help people on an individual basis.

Why did you choose UTRGV School of Medicine?
I am passionate about global health and the concept that all public health is global health. This passion drew me to UTRGV as I learned more about the school’s mission and the communities that it serves. I want to be able to give back to the communities that I am a part of throughout my medical career and coming to a school where there is a strong emphasis on community involvement was the right choice for me.

What specialties of medicine interest you the most? Why?
I’m currently interested in pursuing either ophthalmology or obstetrics and gynecology. I like that there can be a balance between surgery and medicine with continuity of care in both of these specialties. I also hope to continue doing research and global health work throughout my carrier and either of these specialties would provide a fantastic opportunity to do so.

What areas of research interest you the most? Why?
I am currently most interested in global health related research. I am passionate about addressing health disparities and enjoy studying both the underlying mechanisms as well as exploring possible solutions. I have worked on projects ranging from telemedicine to genetics and look forward to continuing this pursuit throughout my medical career.

How has the UTRGV School of Medicine fostered your interests in pursuing a career in medicine?
The UTRGV School of Medicine has given me the opportunity to hold numerous leadership positions and has supported me as I pursue a range of research projects. Through the School of Medicine, I have worked with a variety of physicians and gained valuable connections across the medical community. I have also been able to give back and advocate for health at the local, state and national levels through working directly with patients, resolution writing, and lobbying.

Tell me about the summer between your first and second year of medical school. Did you engage in any interesting research?
Between first and second year of medical school I completed a research project analyzing the prevalence and underlying genetic components of glaucoma in a Nepalese population through the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute. This project allowed me to learn new data analysis methods and create connections within the research community here in the Rio Grande Valley. I was also able to give an oral presentation at the second annual School of Medicine Research Symposium.

What is one interesting fact others might not know about you that you are willing to share?
I have been to over 35 countries on four continents.