THE CULTURAL INFLUENCE IN MULTIGENERATIONAL MEDICAL FAMILIES Teresita Bacani-Oropilla , MD , Joseph Oropilla , MD , Gabrielle Oropilla , MS3
In March 2020 , I left the medical school building ready for spring break . I was nearing the end of my first year of medical school and was ready for a week ’ s breather and to clear my mind with sea salt and Banana Boat sunscreen . But the week away from school turned into 13 months as we transitioned to online learning . Our professors did everything they could to help us adjust . They added virtual weekly wellness sessions and office hours to help us cope with learning in an isolated environment . They also found the best online platform to simulate an interactive classroom . Fast forward to the end of second year : I couldn ’ t wait for Step 1 Board Exam to be over with . I wanted to finally enter the hospital and have a purpose to leave the house each day . I jealously watched as my sister and my fiancé , both a year ahead of me in school , enjoyed each rotation . I told myself , “ Only seven weeks of studying , and I ’ ll be where they are .” I needed more time to study for my boards though , and seven weeks extended to 10 , then 18 , then 31 weeks . And then finally , the wait was over . I began my third-year rotations and left online learning behind after 20 long months .
My journey through medical school so far has inspired me to reflect on my desire to become a physician and my future goals . I am lucky to have many family members in the medical field to give me guidance and support . My sister taught me the basics of navigating clinical rotations . My older brother , now a resident , taught me the importance of managing a work-life balance . Both of my
parents completed residencies at the University of Louisville and my grandmother Dr . Teresita was an associate professor of psychiatry at the UofL School of Medicine . My family includes three generations of physicians , and each is unique . My grandmother , father and I each grew up in different cultures and therefore had vastly different experiences learning and working in medicine . Because of this , I wanted to pull together the thoughts of each generation and explore their experiences pursuing a career in medicine . I posed the same questions to my grandmother and my father : what motivated you to pursue medicine ? How did the Filipino culture and your family influence your decision ?
TERESITA BACANI-OROPILLA , MD , RETIRED PEDIATRICIAN AND CHILD PSYCHIATRIST
At the ripe old age of 93 , a granddaughter asks me to write what motivated me to apply to medical school . At the tender age of 5 , scribbling in front of my teacher mother and her two friends , they asked me what I was going to do . Without hesitation , I answered , “ A doctor .” They laughed in approval .
In the Philippines , where I was born , education is highly valued . Parents assess their children ’ s capabilities and encourage , nay , assign what they hope the child can be . “ This one can be a doctor , that an engineer , this a lawyer , that one a farmer .” My