Teresa Colon-Asumu

With familial roots in Puerto Rico and Equatorial Guinea in West Africa, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student Teresa Colon-Asumu understands firsthand the privilege of the US healthcare system. She lived in Mozambique and other worldwide locations where she witnessed nongovernment organizations providing healthcare for citizens who would have otherwise endured long wait times for basic care. After Teresa completes her family medicine residency at her No. 1 match — Emory University, she pledges to give back to underprivileged communities by aiming to decrease social disparities, educating citizens on proper fitness and nutrition, and mentoring minorities about women’s healthcare.

“There’s not enough representation in healthcare to adequately improve health outcomes,” said the future doctor who also holds a master’s degree in public health to better understand all aspects of healthcare. “I want to help underserved patients develop healthy lifestyles. I also feel compelled to get involved with youth, so the next generation understands the importance of it.”

Just like having to adjust to life in Africa, Teresa quickly adapted to the rigors of medical school. “It was a heavy course load, but I used my tribe and my connections to figure out how to study and when to ask for help.” One person she’s always leaned on has been Mom. “She always told me I could do this and every semester, I gained more confidence.”

Learning Flexibility

Teresa credited her RUSM experience for teaching her the importance of acclimating. “Studying on a boat after Hurricane Maria was a new one but now, I can study anywhere, and I don’t need it to be silent. That skillset will serve me well as a doctor. Everything in my life has gradually become better and it’s going to continue that way.”

For current and future Rossie students, the exercise fiend advises to never give up. “No matter what, this journey is hard, and we know that, but don’t stop. With discomfort comes change and you don’t know your potential unless you keep pushing forward. If you don’t have grit, how are you supposed to help influence patients through hard times? Take time to get to know who you are and play on your strengths. Just keep swimming.”

 

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In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2021-2022, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 96% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2022-23 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2021-22 who were active applicants in the 2022 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.