Recent graduate Aisha Elfasi isn’t going far to chase her dreams of practicing medicine and conducting research. “I realized UF does it like no one else,” she says.
While Aisha Elfasi, M.D., ’19, is sure to go far on her newest adventure, the distance will be symbolic. The next steps for Elfasi, who just crossed the stage during the class of 2019 commencement ceremony on May 18, take her right back to her alma mater.
“On the interview trail, I realized UF does it like no one else,” says Elfasi, who will remain at the UF College of Medicine for her neurology residency training. “The emphasis is on making a well-rounded physician who can practice in all types of settings.”
Elfasi envisions a future as a clinician-scientist, balancing research with direct patient contact. It’s a career path she discovered as a first-year student in the Medical Student Research Program, working in the lab of Peter B. Kang, M.D., chief of the UF division of pediatric neurology.
Elfasi says she was inspired by Kang’s dedication to both research in the lab and patient care at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. “To see those two worlds bridged together so seamlessly, and to be mentored by him, was amazing,” says Elfasi. “He’s a true clinician-scientist.”
She was also inspired by the support she received over the last four years as a recipient of the Jeanne A. Glenn Scholarship.
“The generosity of the donors demonstrates their dedication to the community and their support of learning, service and well-being,” she says.
She credits the scholarship with giving her motivation and hope during the often-stressful days of medical school. “I felt recognized for my efforts and supported in my ambition of becoming a physician and helping people receive the medical care they need,” she said, adding that she was “very grateful, honored and humbled to be chosen.”
Despite all the techniques for research and clinical care she’s learned over the last four years, the best advice Elfasi has for those starting their medical training is the opposite of technical.
“Enjoy the day-to-day and one-on-one experiences you have as a medical student, whether it’s with our world-class faculty, dedicated residents or gracious patients,” she says. “Savor that time.”
That, she says, and not test scores “is what makes a difference in the type of physician you become. UF shapes you from the ground up to become fully fledged physicians.”