Student Spotlight - Meet Artin Galoosian, a fourth year medical student
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hometown and why you decided to pursue medicine.
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. My parents were Armenian immigrants and, like many immigrants, wanted their children to realize the American dream. My older sister and I sought that dream through education. For my sister, it was law school. For me, it was medicine. Without a doubt, it was my mom's diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis when I was only six years old that set me on a path toward medical school. When all standard and experimental medical treatments failed my mom - and even gave her additional malignancy - I was angry. I didn't understand why the doctors couldn't relieve her of her pain. Ultimately, however, I came to realize that the doctors didn't fail her. That although the treatments failed to modify the disease, the doctors never stopped fighting. They knew medicine was her only hope, and they took that responsibility very seriously. I also realize that the compassion they showed her was itself part of her treatment. I was happy that as a kid I was also able to give her that compassion, but as an adult I wanted to be able to fight for the health of others the way my mom's doctors fought for her. Even when it might seem hopeless. It is incredibly humbling that in mere months I will be a resident physician.
What brought you to GW?
As a first-generation college student, the path toward medicine often felt more like a dream than a possible trajectory. I was fortunate to have many teachers and peers who helped me get to where I am today. When I interviewed at GW, more than any other program I visited, I felt that the program faculty offered the kind of support and hands-on guidance that is so important to the success of future doctors like me; the ones who can't rely on guidance and experience from their families to help them succeed. I am also strongly committed to serving the kind of patient population seen at GW - a safety-net academic hospital in an urban setting, where you see a wide breadth of pathology and a microcosm of global diversity.
Are there any research, special projects or medical trips you have participated in while at GW?
Yes. GW offers such an incredible variety of opportunities for students. I chose to participate in the Medical Education and Leadership Track program and I have had a wonderful experience in that program. I have worked on medical education projects with many of the faculty not only here at GW, but also at Children's National Medical Center. The faculty at GW, including the librarians (thank you Gisela!), have been very supportive with my research endeavors. Because of my involvement and interest in the Medical Education and Leadership Track, I was fortunate to serve as the curriculum representative for three of my four years of medical school. This interest lent itself to being involved with the LCME accreditation process as part of the Medical Education Subcommittee. In addition to my track program involvement, I also started up a program in Yerevan, Armenia that could help promote health and chronicle practical remedies of common health issues with an added focus on HIV transmission. I developed a manual in Eastern Armenian that was distributed to various rural villages. I also helped create a program aimed at teaching community leaders about safer sex practices and proper hygiene sanitation in attempt to reduce preventable and communicable disease. I also had the opportunity to spend a summer in Boston as a fellow in the Harvard Medical School Neonatology Fellowship program. I was able to work with world-renowned epigeneticist Dr. Yang Shi, who discovered the histone demethylase, LSD-1. My research focused on the interaction of LSD-1 with MRE-11, which is another protein that, together, function to regulate telomeres and DNA damage repair.
As you reflect on your years at GW, can you share a favorite Himmelfarb Library memory or experience?
I would say my favorite Himmelfarb Library memory would be studying with all of my friends. Nerdy as it is, nothing makes studying late at night better than studying with all of your closest friends (and eating overly-priced SweetGreen and Whole Foods pastries). Also, seeing your attendings and residents at the library studying is also really cool.
What's been the most unexpected, surprising or challenging experience as a GW student?
Medical school can be very challenging; it is an arduous journey. However, at GW I was really surprised and lucky to have had such dedicated attendings that really cared deeply about teaching the medical students, training us and challenging us to become the best clinicians we can be. Particularly after doing away-rotations at other institutions, I have really come to appreciate the clinical faculty at GW.
What are your future plans after GW?
Internal Medicine! But maybe travel a bit before starting residency.
When you are not studying - What are your hobbies, interests or special things you like to do during your down-time?
Cooking; I can pretty much whip together anything I can find in the kitchen. - I am fascinated by linguistics and languages; Armenian is my first language (google it, it's beautiful). - Coffee shops.