Michael Velez

Bachelor of Arts 2015, Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience

Michael Velez is a 2nd-year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University. Most recently, he completed a Master's degree in Translational Medicine from UC Berkeley and UCSF. He obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the George Washington University in 2015.

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What excites you about the work you do? I am passionate about exploring innovation and entrepreneurship within the medical field. As a future physician-innovator, I don’t want to just save lives; I want to revolutionize the way we save lives. Using design-thinking techniques in Jefferson's Health Design Lab allows me to problem-solve creatively with a multidisciplinary team while working towards creating new medical devices or products that can either save or improve the quality of patients lives.

What is the most significant career experience you've had so far, and what made it meaningful to you? As an aspiring “Doctorpreneur”, I elected to postpone applying to medical school during college because I thought it would be wise to first explore the ways in which I could utilize my prospective medical education to promote innovation within the medical field. Following graduation, I worked at Pager, an on-demand urgent care startup focused on transforming the traditional doctor-patient relationship by bringing back the old-school "House Call". This experience, before even training to become a doctor,  offered me insight into how technological advancements can effectively remodel medicine and healthcare. Many people are afraid that as technology continues to advance, medicine will become a robot-driven hands-off discipline. And while that could be a possibility, it was refreshing to be reminded that in the right hands and with the right intentions, technology can in fact ENHANCE the human touch of medicine and facilitate more face to face interactions. Additionally, during the year I applied to medical school I embarked on a year-long Masters of Translational Medicine program at UCSF and UC Berkeley. From this experience, I learned to identify unmet clinical needs and couple science, engineering and entrepreneurial ingenuity to transform ideas into medical innovations capable of improving patient outcomes in the clinic; a bench-to-bedside approach.

Advice for current UHP students: Life Lessons I learned at GW: To figure out your calling and your passions, try out as many activities and experiences as you can and then follow your gut and trust yourself. Time flies and responsibilities pile up, so seize the moment and enrich it with memories. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Never settle. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition because the most dangerous risk is the one of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. Also, surround yourself with people who celebrate you, not tolerate you. Know that people in the world aren't against you, but rather they are for themselves. Never be intimidated by anyone you come across; everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, or has lost something. Lastly, over prepare and then go with the flow. You can never be too careful because very few plans survive first contact with implementation.

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