I AM THE FUTURE OF MEDICINE – Darryl Cannady , MD Candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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Darryl Cannady grew up in Gainesville, FL where he attended grade school and later on for college, at the University of Florida. In middle school, he played alto saxophone and the clarinet, and was a member of his school’s Mu Alpha Theta Math and MathCounts teams. In high school, Darryl was on the football, weightlifting, and Mu Alpha Theta Math teams. His positions for football were mainly on the defensive side (Defensive End/Linebacker and Rover), but also played offensive tackle, tight end, and running back. He was able to participate in state-wide competitions and was apart of consecutive state champion Mu Alpha Theta teams. During his senior year of high school, Darryl dually enrolled at Santa Fe College.

Darryl attended the University of Florida (UF) and majored in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. He was an ambassador for his college, the College of Health and Human Performance (HHP). As an ambassador, he served to promote the school to alumni and future/current students. Darryl also established the first online system for the annual Internship Fair held for his college. With the help of his co-director and College of HHP staff, they were able to drastically increase attendance to their fair in 2011.  Darryl was also a member of the Heal the World organization, an organization dedicated to serving underserved communities in Gainesville and around the world. It afforded him the opportunity to go to Cuzco, Peru on a mission trip. “We were able to provide dental and medical care to a childcare center as well as learn Spanish and explore the Peruvian countryside. It was an amazing experience that I highly recommend for anyone. In addition, the food was some of the best I have ever had. I hope to go back some day to explore and have the opportunity to go to Machu Pichu.” states Darryl.

Darryl was also a research assistant in the Borst Lab at the VA hospital and a study hall monitor for the University Athletic association. In the Borst lab, he was able to perform surgeries on small animals, analyze data, conduct a research study, and was published on multiple research papers. “It was one of the best experiences I had in college and helped me to develop critical thinking skills and maturity to allow me to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.” states Darryl. Darryl attended the University of Florida with Bright Futures and the University Gold scholarship, was on the Dean’s List in 2008 and 2010, graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction, and was nominated for the Outstanding Leadership Award for Male and Female Seniors. He also participated in the University Scholars Program, a research program for undergraduate students with facility collaboration on a research topic. His topic can be found on the UF’s University Scholar’s page titled: The relationship between Age, Sclerostin, Estrogen, and Testosterone in men over age 60.

Currently, Darryl is a third year of medical student. “It has been an amazing experience so far and time has certainly flew by. During my time so far, I have served as the President of SNMA for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM), participated in the Department of Community Service organization health fairs as a normal member and station manager, and am currently the Academics chair for my academic society, Virchow.” states Darryl. He is also actively involved in research in the Miami Project with Dr. Nash, Dr. Kressler, and Dr. Cowan and will have his first, first author publication very soon. He was able to present his research at the 50th annual Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum in Miami, FL and the annual American College of Sports Medicine conference in Orlando, FL. During his first and second year, when he could take a break from studying, Darryl participated in the Community Outreach and Teaching Services (COATS) organization. This organization gave him the opportunity to teach anatomy concepts to middle and high school students. This allowed him to not only help students understand the human body, but also to inspire them to pursue careers in the scientific realm. As President of SNMA chapter of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Darryl and his executive board were able to hold mock interviews, student panels, sickle cell presentations, and food drives for the community.

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Interview Questions asked by SNMA National Vice-Chairperson of the Publications Committee , Jonathan R. Batson.

Good day Darryl, thank you for joining me to answer questions about your career path and journey in medicine for our premedical membership. It is much appreciated.

1.     What inspired you to pursue becoming a doctor?

I saw medicine as a way to challenge myself intellectually. In addition, being able to apply the science I learn in school to humans is amazing. The helping people aspect is always there, but the scientific and clinical knowledge you gain in medical school is also one of the top reasons of why I chose to be a physician.

2.     What challenges did you face as an undergraduate & medical student? Was there ever a time when you felt discouraged or someone discouraged you from being a doctor? How did you handle that?

The only time I was slightly discouraged was when I did not do well in my Biology I course, which was a “weed-out” course at UF. I handled it by doing extremely well in all of my classes for the next three years. That brought satisfaction to me.

3.     How did you balance the demands of your medical education with additional obligations and challenges?

Planning ahead and keeping my plans on my iPhone. Alarms and reminders on your phone help a lot. Some people keep a separate planner book that they write in. I prefer my smartphone because I can set a reminder and it will remind me (since I have 100,000 things running through my head at any one time). Also, making sure to only sign up for stuff that I am truly interested in. Some people sign up and try to get involved in millions of things which causes their grades to suffer. I chose to only sign-up for a few things, put work in them, and leave it at that.

4.     Please describe your participation in special programs such as volunteer work, research,or study-abroad opportunities during medical school.

I am currently finishing up spinal cord research at the Miami Project Cure to cure paralysis. I went to Nicaragua for a medical mission trip in April 2013, participate in the Department of Community Service (DOCS) program at UMiami, and I am the former president for the UMiami chapter of SNMA. In SNMA, we successfully held a military drive, gave sickle cell presentations to high school students, and mentored undergraduate students.

5.     Did you partake in any summer enrichment programs as an undergrad?


6.     Why does diversity matter not only in medical education, but in the field as well?

I think the word diversity needs to be defined. Diversity does not just mean racial status, it should also incorporate other aspects. When someone speaks on the importance of diversity in medicine, this should include women, cultures, races, ethnicities, etc. America is not a homogenous country. The medical field should not be either.

7.     What advice do you have for premedical students who are embarking on a career in medicine?

Make sure that you are serious about it. Going to medical school and becoming a doctor is not just a four year commitment and you are done. There is still residency, possible fellowships, and then establishing yourself. If all you want to do is make a lot of money, don’t go into medicine. There are easier ways to make a lot of money. A career in medicine is no joke. For those interviewing/will be attending medical school next year, make sure to take the summer before entrance off. Don’t study anatomy or biochemistry or any other subjects. Firstly, it will not help you that much. Second, that summer will be one of your last. Last, what sounds better, sitting on a beach sipping on a pina colada or stressing yourself out by studying before being stressed in school? Yeah I thought so.

Also, you need to learn to be an independent learner. There is going to come a point in time when people are not going to tell you exactly what to read, you have to seek it out. Read novels or journal articles. Trust me, it’ll help build your critical thinking skills, which will become EXTREMELY important when you enter medical school.

Finally, be humble, work hard, trust yourself, and love your friends/enemies. Doing those things will help you to gain admission into medical school and in life.

I’ll leave you with this quote: “To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.” – Confucius.

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JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

Filed Under: FeaturedGeneralI AM THE FUTURE OF MEDICINEInside SNMAPremed Corner


About the Author: JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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