Alumnus Dreams of Helping Others After Medical School

Published on 16 May 2022

When Thomas Suh, B.S. ’18, began attending University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, he knew he wanted to explore different career paths in health care.

“When I applied to the University, I was undecided, but I knew at my core that I wanted to help people,” he said. “My parents have always emphasized the importance of getting involved in research, so I wanted a school that would allow me to engage in research, explore different fields within health care and provide direct patient care opportunities.”

Drawn to the University’s prime location within the Washington University Medical Campus, one of the nation’s leading biomedical complexes, Suh sought out research and job shadowing opportunities where he could work alongside experts in health care at nearby institutions.

“The University’s location in the medical complex is exceptional when compared to other health care schools across the nation,” Suh added. “From day one I was living, learning and working in a renowned medical community full of award-winning physicians — not many undergraduates get that same experience.”

Suh completed research with an ophthalmologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where he examined the use of pharmaceutical compounds to reverse cataracts. He also completed pharmaceutics research at the University where he investigated ways to enhance drug delivery in the body.

“Applying to medical school is a competitive process; I’m appreciative of all of the undergraduate research opportunities and support I had at UHSP that helped me stand out when applying to medical schools,” he added. “The University’s small student-to-professor ratio allowed me to get involved in research and build relationships with faculty on a personal and professional level. When it came time to apply to medical schools, my UHSP professors reviewed my applications, wrote reference letters and helped me prepare for my interviews.”

Building upon his research experience, Suh knew he wanted to gain direct patient care experience before applying to medical school. Inspired to explore different specialties within health care, Suh began job shadowing an OB-GYN at the School of Medicine and a pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from the University, Suh began studying for the MCAT and serving as a volunteer medical aid with International Medical Aid, a not-for-profit organization that connects aspiring medical students with internships in an effort to serve impoverished communities. As part of his internship, Suh flew to Africa where he saw firsthand how medical volunteers could save lives and improve health outcomes in underserved communities.

“Most of my experience in Kenya was spent volunteering with the mobile health clinic where we drove to deserted communities that had little to no access to health care. Many of our patients did not realize they had high blood pressure, a necrotizing wound or extreme health care needs — it was overwhelming and rewarding to see the impact that physicians could have on patients.”

Suh acknowledges that his rewarding research and volunteer experiences would not be possible without the strong educational foundation he received from the University.

“I can’t say enough good things about my undergraduate experience at the University and my mentors, Drs. Escudero, Bucholtz and Morrone,” he added. “I feel their mentorship and the University’s emphasis in biology, chemistry and immunology, along with its premier location and undergraduate research opportunities helped set me up for success in medical school. I know I will only continue to build upon what I learned at UHSP, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”

After graduating from ATSU-KCOM, Suh plans to join Doctors Without Borders in order to help people impacted by poverty, natural disasters and epidemics.


New Partnership for Professional Study

Through a partnership with A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, three interview invitations are reserved exclusively for UHSP undergraduate students each academic year for general admission to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program.

Students may also choose to pursue this degree through the Still Scholars Early Acceptance Program which offers numerous benefits, including exemption from the MCAT admission requirement!

Learn more at uhsp.edu/pathways.


This story was first published in the spring 2022 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.

Photo credit: A.T. Still University/Al Maglio

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