As the daughter of a sculptor and a musician, Kate DiPasquale grew up with a strong sense of self and understood at a young age that success would not only hinge on having the confidence to trust in her abilities, but also on having the faith to pursue her passion. And, while Kate didn’t follow her parents into the creative arts, she found her niche and focused on her dream of becoming a doctor.
Kate’s desire to go to medical school and become a family practitioner started when she became an outreach worker for a migrant health program in Duchess County, NY. She was impressed by the wide range of treatment offered by primary care providers and quickly understood the ever-increasing and important role these providers play in medically vulnerable communities.
While working for the health program, Kate conducted outreach to the community, providing transportation for families who had no means of coming to the clinic and translating materials for Spanish speaking patients. After two years, she realized this was what she wanted to do with her life and decided to go to medical school. It was also at her clinic that Kate heard about the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Program (S2S) and the loan repayment support it offers through the Affordable Care Act to fourth year medical students interested in pursuing a primary care career in underserved communities.
“This program just fit into my life and my goals,” Kate said. “The S2S program provided a way to further my professional goals and make my dream of helping the underserved a reality. So, I applied.”
Now a fourth year medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University, Kate is preparing to graduate and begin residency. She attends monthly elective rotations, choosing services that are greatly needed in underserved communities around the United States – such as Wound Care. To further extend her presence in the community, she co-leads a class, Foundations of Clinical Medicine, at her school to teach first year students about clinical practice. In addition, Kate is a member of the American Family Medicine Association (AFMA) and the Richmond Area Medical Society (RAMS).
Without the financial help provided by the NHSC, Kate wouldn’t have been able to pursue her passion to the degree she wanted. And she is grateful for the experience she has had.
Kate adds, “As much as I love being able to give back to the community and provide a needed service, I know I have gained even more than I have given.”