Mentors on the Move: Dr. Robert Trevino

 In Voices of Diversity

Mentors on The Move Exclusive Interview with Robert Trevino, MD-PHD

[T4D]: What are you “Moving” to?

[Dr. Trevino]: After a 10 year medical school career, I recently graduated with my MD from Rush Medical College after having previously received my PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the Graduate College of Rush University in 2016. I have received a number of honors over the years celebrating the work I have done in the community and mentorship, including the Cadbury Award and National Alumni Council Scholarship from National Medical Foundation, Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion from the Graduate College, Dr. David Jones Peck award from Rush Medical College, Excellence in Public Health from the United States Public Health Service, and the 40 Under 40 Minority Leaders in Health award from National Minority Quality Forum (this is cool because I was in the first cohort of awardees, the first medical student awardee, and one of MANY Tour mentors who have been awarded). Additionally, I have received some awards for my research including the David E. Satcher MD, PhD Research Fellowship from the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and a Young Scientist and Orthopedic Surgeons Star nomination from the International Cartilage Repair Society. With all of this, I will be beginning a residency in pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).

Any mentors you would like to thank?

First and foremost, I have to give credit to my wife for enduring my nontraditional path to the MD/ PhD. When we began dating while she was a medical student, I was a middle school science teacher who transitioned to medicine. Then once we became engaged, she thought I would graduate from medical school and go to residency. She never expected a 6 year hiatus from my graduation date. Then, there have been a number of mentors from Rush over the years from the community work side, including Sharon Gates and Dr. Maria Brown, and from the research world, including my PI Dr. Markus Wimmer, my committee chairperson Dr. Jim Williams, and my department chair Dr. Rick Sumner. And to add to the list, I cannot forget my Tour family where nearly everyone has provided support in someway but in particular Dr. Alden Landry, Dr. Kameron Matthews, and Dr. Brandi Freeman. They have been instrumental in adding to my research background through the work and projects we do with T4D.

What do you like the most about the pediatric specialty?

For me, pediatrics combines many interests of mine. Like I mentioned, I taught middle school science before medical school and I have a long interest in educational disparities in the opportunity gaps from students of color and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Learning how to interact with students and their families played a large role in why I chose pediatrics. One of the hardest things for students to understand about pediatrics is that it isn’t all fun and games with the kids. Usually if kids are in the hospital, it’s a big deal for them AND their family. So understanding how to communicate with a toddler is equally as important as understanding how to give discharge information for their family.

Any advice to someone who wants to be like you?

Because of the path I took, I learned you always need to be open to opportunities. I know I let many slip by me in college because I didn’t understand how to watch for them and think about what else could come from them. One that I did catch, though, the Summer Medical Dental Education Program (now Summer Health Professions Education Program) from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was instrumental, not only in getting my head on straight but also in meeting my future wife! Beyond the opportunities, you also need to find people to be in your corner and tell you the truth. If things aren’t working, you have to trust the relationship for them to share the real talk about how strong you are and what support you need to improve. This is equally important to me as someone being positive and providing that guiding light.

How do you plan to use your doctorate degree in residency?

I am in talks with different research mentors at MCW about possible research directions. While my primary focus in residency is training to become an excellent physician, I know research is an integral piece of that for me. At this point, I enjoyed the work I did with my PhD in cartilage mechanics. But I also loved the research I conducted with Tour team around pipeline programming. Furthermore, I am passionate about medical education. At the end of the day, there are many potential tracks for me to jump into.

Can we expect any other moves from you in the next 5 years?

At this point, I’m just hoping to finish things in “normal” timelines for people, i.e. 3 years for a pediatrics residency! I am thinking about fellowship and at this point, emergency medicine, critical care, and sports medicine are all in play for me

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