Episode 5 | Undocumented Physicians

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Medical training is a stressful process. Sometimes we get lost in the grind and rely on taking each task one at a time, only focusing on what is directly in front of us. When we let our own stressors consume us it is easy to forget about the extra-curricular challenges that others around us might be facing. In this episode, we interview Aaima and Cesar about being an undocumented immigrant and physician in training.

Both Aaima and Cesar have used the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to get a work permit and pursue their dream of becoming physicians. The Deferred action for Childhood arrivals was established in 2012 by the executive branch of the US government and it allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US before the age of 16 to receive protection from deportation. The recipients must be less than 31 years old, have lived in the US for 5 years, and be high school graduates or current students. If their request for deferred action is approved they receive a employment authorization number, and are then eligible to get legal jobs with benefits, a driver’s license, and most importantly for our conversation, they get better access to higher education, including medical school. New DACA applications are not currently being accepted, but to find out more about DACA requirements and benefits go to the official immigration services website: https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca.

Starting in 2014  Loyola University, in Chicago started accepting DACA students into the Stritch School of Medicine. Loyola was the first medical school to do so, but several other schools around the country have followed suit. If you are interested in learning more about DACA and Loyola University’s Admission policy you can find more information at https://ssom.luc.edu/daca.

Cesar is a DACA recipient and fourth year MD-PhD student at Loyola University Chicago. He was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and moved to New Mexico at the age of ten. Cesar’s career interests are in diagnostic and predictive medicine. You can check him out on twitter @Bacteremia.

Aaima Sayed is a first year resident physician at Loyola University Medical Center.  She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University in 2012 and went to Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine for medical school. She graduated from medical school in 2018 and is currently pursuing psychiatry at Loyola University Medical Center. You can follow Aima at facebook.com/aaima

Aaima and Cesar