News : 2018 : April

Get to know Sarah Sukkar, M.D. Candidate, Class of 2020

Q: Why did you choose the Miller School of Medicine for your medical education?

SS: I am fortunate enough to find myself at the Miller School of Medicine for a number of reasons. First, I knew that coming here would mean receiving a top notch medical education that would provide me everything I needed to become the physician that I want to be. On top of that, I was born and raised in South Florida, so coming to Miller was like coming home. My family – my mom, dad, brother, sisters, grandma, aunts, uncles, even pets! – all live within an hour from campus, which meant that the best support system I could possibly wish for was right at my fingertips. Aside from my family, coming back to South Florida gave me the opportunity to learn in and give back to the same communities that I grew up in, which has been a truly special experience. And finally, the University of Miami very generously provided me with a scholarship to attend, which made the whole situation such a dream come true. I am so happy to be here!

Q: Why did you go into medicine?

SS: My family went to my same pediatrician from the time of my birth until the time of his retirement. Most children may cry at the idea of having to go see the doctor, but I was not one of those children. It is not to say that I wasn’t afraid of shots, or wasn’t weary of unpleasant medications, because I was plenty worried about both of those things. But as a child, I felt very much at peace when I was enroute to my pediatrician, because I knew that he would help me. I knew that he would impart calmness onto my anxious mother, that he would identify what my illness was, and that he would do something to help me feel better. The four walls of his pediatric office were a safe-haven, because I knew that my plight could only get better from there. I went into medicine with the dream of being that for my patients one day – I want to be able to give them the peace of mind to know that I will do everything I can to help them feel better.

Q: What medical specialty are you pursuing?

SS: I want to go into pediatrics.

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

SS: My most meaningful experience I have had was volunteering at a health fair through our Wolfson DOCS program in first year. I was volunteering at the registration station where we obtain histories on the patients to see what their risks are and which stations they should be seen by. It was a particularly slow lull near the end of the day, so I had plenty of time to talk to my next patient – an elderly man with a sharp fedora hat and a long story to tell. He sat down with me and told me all about his life and how he felt now that he was approaching what he felt was the last stage of his life. I sat and soaked up as much of his wisdom as I could as he told me that the only thing that matters in the end is to just be happy. At the end of our talk, he gave me the sincerest thank you – “just for listening to me, it really helped.” This was so special to me because it really solidified the idea that healing is not only made up of a diagnosis or a medication; an important part of healing is just sitting with your patient, listening intently, and letting them know how much you care.

Q: What drew you to a leadership role in Wolfson DOCS?

SS: The situation I described above was really a key moment for me in my decision to pursue leadership in Wolfson DOCS. I wanted to be able to transform the registration station from just a “registration” into more of a one-on-one connection with patients that provided them with the chance to have cathartic conversations with our volunteers. My goals this year have been to train our volunteers to be diligent listeners, trying to extract patient stories and identify any risks that they may have, and then in turn use that information to be a fierce advocate for that patient and get them to the stations that would most benefit them. There is always more work to do, but I am proud to say that we have definitely made strides in the right direction to meet these goals this year.

Q: If you have any, what do you like to do in your spare time?

SS: I love to be around the kids, so once a month I participate in our Caring heARTS program where we do arts and crafts with the pediatric patients at Holtz. Recently, I also started volunteering each week at the Debbie School as a volunteer for the pre-school children. Spending time with both groups is always a lot of fun.