Raymond Aguilar Koopmans
University of Washington School of Medicine, Class of 2017
Hometown: Mount Vernon, WA
College: University of Washington, double major in Mathematics and Biochemistry
Favorite clinical rotation, and why: My favorite clinical rotation was family medicine in Othello, WA. It was my first rotation of 3rd year and I remember feeling really nervous and excited at the same time. I was required to see 12 patients in a day and write all the notes. I definitely learned how to be efficient. But what I enjoyed most was the patient population I was serving. I was speaking Spanish 90% of the time. The patients I was taking care of were farmworkers just like my parents and I once were. I had the privilege of being able to educate some of my patients on their new diagnosis or on ways to live healthier lives. I was also able to witness the miracle of childbirth, take out a fishing hook that a young boy accidentally stepped on, and injected knees for pain relief all in single day. I remember going home feeling fulfilled and happy.
What drew you to Family Medicine? Growing up I thought all doctors were family doctors. It wasn’t until later that I realized I was very wrong. I love the long term relationships you build with patients in family medicine. You truly get to know all aspects of your patients unlike any other specialty. I also enjoy the variety in family medicine. In any given day, you can see a newborn, an 8-year-old well child check, a teenager sports physical, follow up on a patient who has been trying to quit smoking, show a new mom her baby’s heartbeat, perform procedures and teach patients the physiology of their chronic illness.
Anything else you want people to know about you? My community has continuously been my motivation in pursuing this challenging career. I have a responsibility to serve the underserved because of all they have done for me. I did not get to where I am today alone. I have had many teachers, advisors and mentors who really deserve this award. There is a dire need to increase the diversity in all health related fields and it is a strong passion of mine to encourage and motivate more underrepresented minorities to fulfill their dreams of becoming physical therapist, nurses, social workers, doctors, dentists etc. I spearheaded the creation of the first Latino pre-health club at the University of Washington that now has over 100 active underrepresented minority pre-health students. This pre-health organization is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented students in healthcare as well as improving health outcomes of underserved minority populations through education and activism. We meet monthly to discuss personal and/or academic issues. Provided guidance and support in preparing medical or dental school applications as well as give workshops on professionalism, asking for a letter of recommendation, studying techniques etc.