Annie Porter

UMMS Class of 2013

Why UMMS? I fell in love with Michigan on my interview day. The students I met were so down to earth and excited about their school; the Michigan spirit was contagious, and I knew I wanted to be a part of this community.  I was also impressed by the countless opportunities at UMMS, including the chance to do international work.  I realized that a Michigan education would open a lot of doors for me both during school and in my future career. I was thrilled when my acceptance arrived. 

When did you first develop an interest in global health? During undergrad at Notre Dame, I completed a Peace and Conflict Studies seminar in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The experience didn't have a medical focus, but it was hard to ignore the often limited access to healthcare in these countries.  Although we hear it often, it's true how much we take for granted, especially when it comes to medical care. My time abroad that summer also made me realize the importance of sustainable international projects.  After two months, it was difficult to leave knowing that I probably wouldn't be back for a long time.  I knew that if I chose to pursue international health work, I'd want to be part of a long-term project that provided lasting benefits to everyone involved.

Annie Porter (left) is seated next to Dr. Senait Fisseha at a dinner with colleagues from St. Paul's Hospital, including Dr. Lia Tadesse, Vice Provost for Medical Services (2nd from right).

What is the most exciting thing happening at UMMS these days: The new relationship between UMMS and St. Paul's in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is an amazing opportunity for students to get involved in a meaningful and sustainable international project. Dr. Senait Fisseha from U-M is helping St. Paul's develop an Ob-Gyn residency and Family Planning fellowship, and as a visiting student, I played a small part in helping students at St. Paul's start a Medical Students for Choice group. U-M and St. Paul's are working together as equal partners to develop new leaders in Women's Health from within the St. Paul's community. I believe this ensures the changes will be relevant and important to the people at St. Paul's. 

Residency match: Washington University in St. Louis

Medical specialty area and why: Obstetrics and Gynecology. I chose Ob-Gyn because of its diversity.  I love that my career will allow me to work in the operating room and the clinic, with the young and the old, at home and abroad.  From an international angle, women's health provides many opportunities to effect change, and I'm excited that my speciality will allow me to continue working in global health.  

As you look back on your years at UMMS, what will you treasure most? That's easy!  The relationships I've formed with my classmates are bonds I'll carry for the rest of my life.  Coming into medical school, I thought I'd just spend four years studying and working.  Although I did plenty of that (maybe not as much as I should have at times!), my experience at UMMS was much more defined by the people I met and the friendships I made. 

Significant impacts along your personal path that molded your education/life choices? Both my parents are clinical social workers, and their work has had an immeasurable impact on the way I look at medicine.  They helped me recognize the importance of treating the person rather than the disease.  I think we can at times forget that our role as physicians goes beyond just writing a prescription and that "healthy" is defined by much more than lab values.  I hope that no matter how busy I am, I'll always take time to remember my patients as the people they are outside the hospital.