Medical School Admissions

Student Stories

Learn about the students who make The Warren Alpert Medical School one of the nation's most renowned institutions.

  • Tsikata Apenyo

    Tsikata Apenyo MD’23

    Tsikata Apenyo describes his accent as “an eclectic combination of drawls from Maryland’s Chesapeake shores, Mississippi’s delta, Los Angeles’ beaches, the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and Ghana’s history of English colonialism.” But even as he moved around, one constant in his life was medicine.

    From the physicians and pharmacists in his family to the health care struggles of his Mississippi neighbors, Tsikata saw from an early age how he could make a difference in people’s lives. He became an EMT, and volunteered at a crisis hotline at the University of Portland, where he studied biology and chemistry and joined ROTC. 

    After graduating he moved to China, where he taught English as a Fulbright fellow. The experience gave him new insights into his future career. “Recognizing patterns in human behavior and developing relationships are central to both teaching and medicine,” he says.

    Tsikata enthusiastically embraced The Warren Alpert Medical School’s many opportunities, like volunteering for the Student National Medical Association and Rhode Island Free Clinic, co-leading preclinical electives, and doing cardiology research. He also responded to COVID-19 with the Rhode Island National Guard and continues to play intramural sports.

    Now a commissioned officer, Tsikata says military service is a way to give back to his country and his fellow soldiers; he aspires to a role in governmental public health. “I see health policy as the greatest way I can make a lasting impact,” he says.

  • Ben Gallo

    Benjamin Gallo Marin MD’23

    Growing up in Nicaragua, Ben Gallo saw firsthand the shortcomings of his country’s health care system. He dreamed of studying medicine in the US and collaborating with physicians back home, so they wouldn’t fail future patients as they had his dad and abuelita

    “I want to be part of the forefront of medicine and research,” Ben says. “The potential that holds for the people of my country who don’t have the privilege to pursue education in the United States is enormous.”

    Ben studied molecular biology at Princeton and, after completing a post-baccalaureate at the University of Pennsylvania, applied to US medical schools. “I chose Brown because the Medical School’s culture—to prepare us to revolutionize medicine through a thesis of social justice and equity—was extremely appealing to me,” he says.

    Ben is devoted to giving back. During the COVID-19 shutdown he volunteered his language skills to translate health information into Spanish for local patients and the latest journal articles for physicians in Nicaragua, and collected and distributed smart devices to help isolated nursing home residents stay in touch with loved ones. He also co-founded F-1 Doctors, a volunteer mentorship platform where he supports other international students through the arduous US med school admissions process. 

    His research activities reflect his mission of equity and access. He’s an Emerging Infectious Diseases Scholar and he’s pursuing a research internship in Global Emergency Medicine and a Scholarly Concentration in Caring for Underserved Communities

    “I see all of this as an enormous social responsibility,” Ben says of studying medicine at Brown. “It’s rewarding to be given the tools to have a local impact while also lending a hand to the people of Latin America.” 

  • EB Henebeng MD’21

    EB Henebeng MD’21

    Esther Henebeng was born at Brown-affiliated Women & Infants Hospital and has stuck close to Providence most of her life. But it was the six months she spent in Ghana, her family’s ancestral home, as an undergraduate that ignited her interest in medicine.

    Through the Ghana Health Service, EB helped medical professionals with patient care and took part in outreach programs, weighing infants and providing families with low-cost formula. Since then, she says, “I have been drawn to projects that involve community outreach and education because I believe this is an important way to empower others.”

    After graduating from Northeastern University as a behavioral neuroscience major and international affairs minor, EB was a clinical research assistant for two years at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center, developing digital interventions to prevent risky adolescent behaviors while refining her community engagement skills with vulnerable populations.

    That experience has been key to her many leadership activities, which include teaching sex ed to seventh-graders, caring for uninsured patients at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, and mentoring high school and undergraduate students who identify as underrepresented in medicine. An aspiring pediatric dermatologist, she’s working to expand resources and reduce disparities in the field through the Skin of Color Community Series she helped create.

    While med school is as stressful as EB expected, she’s able to decompress by exploring Providence’s restaurant scene and taking long bike rides. Most importantly, she finds comfort in Brown’s “supportive environment,” she says. “I have met amazing mentors who remind me not to be afraid of failure, because it is part of the road to success.”

  • David Loftus MD’23

    David Loftus grew up near Syracuse, NY, as a competitive skier, traveling internationally to train and compete. But alongside his drive to win was a drive to serve. He earned a ROTC scholarship to Boston College, majoring in Islamic civilization and societies and minoring in Arabic, and upon graduating was commissioned in the Navy.

    An intelligence officer, David’s deployments included a Joint Special Operations Task Force in the Middle East. “My final work in nuclear strategic planning and operations drove me to reconsider how best I could serve others,” he says. “Medicine offered a path to a service-based vocation that sought active betterment of lives rather than the safeguarding of them through the specter of violence.”

    David had fulfilled some premed requirements as an undergrad, and took the remaining courses at a community college and local university. He liked The Warren Alpert Medical School for its “welcoming and student-centric educational environment” and the diverse backgrounds of its students. “It is the most stimulating group of educators, students, and professionals I have ever been a part of,” he adds.

    Now in his second year, David volunteers with the Teddy Bear Clinic, visiting Providence elementary schools to teach kids healthy habits and what it’s like to go to the doctor’s office. Proficient in Arabic, he’s the leader of the Introduction to Medical Arabic preclinical elective. He continues to serve in the Navy Reserve as a lieutenant.

    And he’s still skiing, in addition to other outdoor sports like mountain biking, in his free time—a luxury he believes he might not have elsewhere. “Brown respects and tries more than other programs to value and account for [students’ free time],” David says.

  • Christiana Prucnal

    Christiana Prucnal ScM’21 MD’21, BSN

    Christiana Prucnal always knew she wanted to work in health care. The Chicago native was inspired by “two stellar role models who were nurses,” and she wanted to follow in their footsteps. 

    She earned her nursing degree from Loyola University Chicago and worked at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Realizing she’d have more of a leadership and decision-making role as a physician, Christiana completed a post-baccalaureate at Northwestern and applied to medical school.

    She was drawn to Brown in part because many students, like her, had worked prior to med school. She also liked the Primary Care-Population Medicine Program, which would teach her to address the systemic inequities in US health care. “Working to combat these root problems is going to require more than clinical medicine training,” Christiana says. For her master’s thesis she’s surveying emergency department nurses to understand how EDs can get more opioid overdose patients into treatment.

    A fourth-year student, Christiana hopes to land an emergency medicine residency, followed by a critical care fellowship. “I’m drawn by the complexity of acute care and the ED mission of serving all comers,” she says. The dual training, she adds, will make her a better clinician and educator, and better able “to effect systems-level changes.”

    In her free time Christiana loves hiking, running, and tending her “wildly overgrown” porch garden. She still works part time as an ED nurse at MGH—an unexpected “gift” during the initial surge of COVID-19, when the fear and anxiety “gave way to camaraderie and singularity of purpose on shift,” she says. “I feel lucky and grateful for that time and the ability to contribute a small piece.”

  • Esther Wu

    Esther Wu MD’22

    Esther Wu has long been fascinated by the brain. A neuroscience and biology double major at Dartmouth, she worked at a clinic where she interviewed families of patients with dementia, held a social engagement group for kids with autism spectrum disorder, and did her senior honors thesis on developmental prosopagnosia.

    But before committing to years of medical education and training, the Pasadena, CA, native wanted to try something different, and found a job with a life sciences consulting firm in Boston. “I felt a few steps removed from helping actual patients, and I knew then that it was time to head to med school,” she says. 

    As a third-year student interested in neurology or neurosurgery, Esther researches traumatic brain injury and helped organize the National Student Neurosurgery and Neurology Research Conference at The Warren Alpert Medical School. She serves on the Medical Student Senate, co-led a preclinical elective during her second year, and volunteers with the Rhode Island Free Clinic.

    A figure skater, Esther competed at Dartmouth and still skates occasionally with Brown’s club. “I knew from the moment I got to campus for my interview that I could build a community here,” she says. “I’ve been impressed with the resources, shadowing opportunities, and the willingness of professors and attendings to serve as mentors. I’m glad that I went with my gut.”

Learn more

Read more about our students at [email protected]

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