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Healing Path

New graduate program prepares students for careers in medical fields

Growing up in Haiti, Carla Cadet knew she wanted to become a doctor. She would even pretend her dolls were her patients.

“I wanted to see what was wrong with them,” she said.

Eight years after immigrating to the United States, Cadet’s dream of medical school has become a reality with help from Bridgewater State University’s Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions and Pre-Medical Sciences Program.

Launched two years ago by the College of Graduate Studies, it serves students who have earned a bachelor’s degree but need more coursework to prepare for medical, dental, physical therapy and other advanced health programs.

“We saw the need,” said Dr. Steve Haefner, a professor in the Department of Chemical Sciences and the program’s chair. “We thought this would be a great place to collect all these students and make sure they get the advising they need to prepare them.”

The program serves recent graduates and people seeking to make a career change. Some of the enrollees completed their undergraduate degree at BSU and others, like Cadet, were new to the university.

“She’s amazing,” Haefner said of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth graduate, who is now a student at the St. Louis University School of Medicine. “I could see right away she was very mature, very driven and focused in terms of what she wanted.”

Science faculty welcomed Cadet and helped her prepare for her medical school interview. She filled a gap in her transcript by taking a course in microbiology.

“BSU gave me the confidence I needed because I felt I was on my last straw,” said Cadet, who had previously applied to medical school without success. “I have finally been given the opportunity. All I had to do was work hard, and that’s what I did.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, which began while Cadet was taking BSU classes, confirmed her career plans. She’s even following her mom (who worked as a nurse in Haiti) into the medical field.

“I saw what my mother was doing and how she was making a difference in people’s lives … and I always told her that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

Cadet hopes to serve Haiti, only now healing humans instead of dolls.

“I might not be able to change the lives of everyone,” she said, “but I’m on the right path.”

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