Picture This: M.D./M.P.H. Student Realizes Childhood Dream

The photographic evidence in her childhood home suggests Gemma St. Louis may have known her calling before she was out of diapers.

An M.D./M.P.H. student in the Class of 2024 at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Gemma was caught on camera donning a stethoscope at age 2. She’ll find out the next step in her career at Friday’s Match Day celebration.

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How did you become interested in medicine?

I’m not sure where it stemmed from, but I always dreamed of becoming a doctor and loved math and science growing up. There’s this picture I have at home of me with a stethoscope and my grandfather from when I was 2. I ended up applying to the University of Miami for undergrad, where I majored in neuroscience with a Spanish minor, thanks to a full-tuition scholarship.

Why did you decide on a dual-M.D./M.P.H. degree?

It was always super important for me to understand and engage in the communities you’re working in. Getting a dual degree has allowed me to see patients and practice medicine through a public health lens. I see their pathology and can take into account their situations at home and what resources they have access to. In the future, as an OBGYN, I’ll be able to practice medicine through that public health lens and help patients in underserved communities.

Talk a bit about your research on women’s health.

Thanks to Dr. Michelle Fletcher, my biggest role model and longitudinal educator, I was able to participate in many quality-improvement projects. One of the things we worked on was my patient navigation program, which was my M.P.H. capstone project. It connects underserved patients to follow-up care after pregnancy. Another of my projects deals with maternal mortality and how we can get these patients seen more quickly in the postpartum period. I’ve also done some work in infertility.

What was your experience like with Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service?

I knew of DOCS since I was an undergraduate student at UM. In fact, it was one of the reasons that attracted me to Miller for medical school. I got involved in my first year of med school to help bridge health disparities. I was the women’s health assistant station manager and then climbed up in leadership roles to become one of the executive directors.

Miller School M.D./M.P.H. student Gemma St. Louis walking on the medical campus
Gemma St. Louis’ interest in health care disparities stems in part from her work with the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service.

My favorite part of DOCS has always been the women’s health station and I’ve been able to see how we’ve progressed over time. We started just doing pap smears and breast exams and now we have free STI and pregnancy tests. We’re now incorporating some new, exciting things to help with lack of access to care for our patients.

Why do you want to specialize in OBGYN?

I don’t know if I would have been interested in OBGYN without the influence of my longitudinal clinical educator, who is also in the specialty. For the past four years, I have been with her and seen how much she cared for her patients and handled women’s health situations, especially in this climate, where we’re having difficulty accessing care for some women. I got to go and see patients with her from my first year, which was awesome.

How are you approaching Match Day?

There are a lot of nerves and anxiety, but honestly, it’s just super rewarding to finally be here. This is an experience we have looked forward to for four years, and every time I’m with my friends, we talk about where we think everyone will match. We’re so excited to see where everyone in our class will go and we know it will be the best day.

Tags: Match Day, Match Day 2024, medical education