News : 2017 : October

Student Spotlight: Stephanie Ioannou

1) What is your hometown?

I am from Miami Beach. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up, but we found ourselves back in South Florida when I was 13 and have been here ever since.

2) Where did you earn your undergraduate degree?

I received my B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology from the University of Miami, graduating in December 2013. I was accepted into the Medical Scholars Program (MSP), which is a combined B.S. /M.D. degree program, which gave me the opportunity to start my medical education after only three years into my undergraduate degree.

3) Why did you choose the Miller School of Medicine for your medical education?

I chose the Miller School of Medicine because of its emphasis on clinical experiences, even from the first week of medical school. I remember itching to get into the hospital from day one. There are widely diverse patient populations served at the three hospitals on our campus. I have always had a passion for working in underserved communities, and I knew that at Miller both my medical education and my extracurricular pursuits would allow me to do just that. Miami is home to me and was a big factor that contributed to my choice in pursing my medical education here.

4) Why did you go into medicine?

I was one of those people who knew medicine was right for me since I was very young. My father’s battle with cancer when I was nine had my family in and out of hospitals for a few years. Although I was too young to really understand what was happening, I became deeply inspired by the physicians who would eventually help my dad beat his illness. Ever since then, I decided I wanted to do the same, to be a physician who could do for other families what my father’s doctors did for my mine. To this day, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

5) What medical specialty are you pursuing?

I’m pursuing a career in internal medicine. To me, it’s a field full of intellectual curiosities and never-ending pursuits of knowledge, and that’s what has really drawn me to it.

6) You are the executive director of the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (Wolfson DOCS.) What drew you to a leadership role?

Wolfson DOCS is the largest student-led initiative at the Miller School of Medicine. It affords students and physicians alike an opportunity to go into underserved communities in the tri-county area and give back through large-scale health screening fairs and weekly student-run clinic nights. I began volunteering at the DOCS fairs and clinics early in my first year of medical school. I was hooked pretty much immediately – and haven’t missed a single fair since. I became involved in DOCS leadership because I’m passionate about what we, as a DOCS family, do for our community. The thing that I really love about DOCS is that it’s just a group of students that care about the community enough to sacrifice some of the little free time we get to give back. With each of us contributing our own unique strengths and creative minds, we are always bringing to life new initiatives that help us grow in our outreach efforts.

7) What’s been your most meaningful experience as a student at the Miller School?

Other than my time spent in DOCS leadership, I would have to say that, by far, my most meaningful experience has been to lead the medical mission trip to Nicaragua as a second-year student. I went on that trip as a volunteer my first year of medical school, and when I signed up to be on the leadership team for the subsequent year, I think I underestimated the magnitude of the challenge. It was no easy feat to bring together a group of over 80 students and health care professionals with a common mission for an entire week. But I worked with an amazing team of student leaders to make it happen, and together our group saw more than 1200 patients. I’m planning to return to Nicaragua this spring, and hopefully as a physician in the future, as well.

8) If you have any, what do you like to do in your spare time?

One of the best parts about living in Miami is the Latin culture that is everywhere you turn. I have become immersed in that culture over the past year as a true salsa-dancing enthusiast! With my spare time, I take salsa lessons, and I enjoy going to local salsa events in the community to practice dancing with my fellow soleras y salseros.