Inspired by the medical success of his uncle and cousin, fellow graduates of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), alum Vittorio Terrigno, MD ’18, is already following family tradition. The newly selected third-year chief resident at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ, is developing a research curriculum for the organization’s internal medicine department and thanks mentors for his current success.
“It’s not just about the specific learnings and what to expect in the field,” Terrigno said about his past and current mentors. “It’s about the positive reinforcement along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. It started at Ross University School of Medicine and continued with attendings and residents, those in my field and even those outside of it. It’s finding the right people who are going to be your encouragement when you need it the most.”
At RUSM, Terrigno credits several mentors but especially notes the warmth and long-term commitment from Maureen PM Hall, MD, Med, BSc, an assistant professor of medicine in the Academy for Teaching and Learning, who still corresponds with him three years past graduation. Terrigno said they first met during orientation and she never left his side — providing guidance, study tips and, most importantly, support during periods of doubt.
“She’d send emails asking how it was going and always said she was proud of me,” Terrigno recalled about their email exchanges. One of his responses stated, “I want to truly thank you for all of your help and guidance along the way. I could not have done this without you. I will never forget all of the times where I sat in your office and you helped to inspire me to keep pushing. I am so very grateful for your help.”
That sustained relationship is the reason Terrigno voluntarily shared his chief resident news earlier this year. “In looking back on my journey,” he said in his email to Hall, “I credit much of my success to my meetings in your office. Your support meant more to me than you will ever know and helped me through tough times!”
Terrigno spent his last two years immersed in research — authoring case reports and papers as well as presenting posters at nationwide cardiology conferences, an area he’d like to learn more about in a future fellowship. “I knew I had to enter internal medicine to get to cardio so I could look at the body as a whole before I could treat and look at different systems to determine how it’s interrelated to the heart.”
Newly married to RUSM graduate, Katrina Blankenhorn, MD ’19, the couple enjoys sports, spending time with family and caring for their two dogs, one of whom Blankenhorn rescued in Dominica. Reflecting on his medical school tenure, he said, “You expect it be hard work, but you don’t truly realize just how rewarding it will be and how many feats you’ll be able to accomplish. Dr. Hall never gave up on me and I wouldn’t be here if she didn’t stay by my side from start to finish and beyond!”