2017: Nicele Puente

October 20, 2015 by

I was born overseas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but I was raised in Northern Virginia, and attended Boston University for my undergraduate studies in International Relations.  I spent seven years Active Duty as an Army officer before transitioning to medicine through the pre-medical post-baccalaureate program at Johns Hopkins, and attending medical school here at UVA.

Both personal and professional experiences gave me a real appreciation for the important role that primary care physicians will play as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve. I found that I could identify with the physicians around me who gained satisfaction from the continuous, long-term care they provided, and I admired the patient relationships they sustained and developed over a long term.  I also saw great value in the educational aspect of preventive medicine as a critical starting point for improved health perspectives in a variety of different community settings, and I developed interests in Family medicine, geriatrics, and the cultural aspects of healthcare.

I am thankful to be a part of the Generalist Scholars Program here at UVA!  In addition to the extra mentorship we receive as students, we quickly become part of the conversation about the future of primary care through regular lunch lectures and events like Primary Care Week.  We also have opportunities to explore individual interests outside of the regular curriculum through a scholarly project and a senior thesis.  For my summer project, I worked with the International Family Medicine Clinic to identify barriers to pediatric developmental assistance for the refugee population here in Charlottesville.