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A View on an Artist in Medicine

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects in the culture of medical school is the integrative class of students that survive together through the obstacles in the metamorphosis to fully fledged physicians. Individually and as a collective, we trudge through the same curricular rigors, learning to balance life, work and everything else in between. We bond with our fellow classmates, through celebration and struggle. Our mutual bonding is a way to observe the diverse background and hidden talents that make our big family unique and multifaceted. Beyond our scientific acumen, some of us continue to uphold passions such as music, cooking, art and comedy — the torrent of talent runs abundant.

A 28-year-old Alexis del Vecchio is one of these unique individuals. As a non-traditional student, his path to medicine was atypical yet closely aligned with his life as a performing artist. Growing up as a French Canadian professional actor in Montreal, Quebec, he jokingly states that his acting career started “in utero” during a commercial shooting of his then pregnant mother. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 15, speaking solely French and has painstakingly reached professional success. He pursued Film and Theatre studies as an undergraduate student at Yale University, where he was actively involved in theatre productions and various film programs, thriving in the collegiate community and advancing his understanding of the intricacies and beauty of humanities. It was Alexis’ love of people that nurtured his talent, allowing him to elicit the empathy necessary to relate to characters. He never aimed to forget himself, but rather, to place himself in the shoes of others and see their perspective. Moving from New Haven to Los Angeles, he spent a few years in the professional acting circle, producing television movies and participating in screenwriting projects.

When asked about his interest in medicine, Alexis has always been interested in the study of people. He thrived in his science courses yet given the large size of classrooms, chose to major in humanities where the smaller course size allowed closer interaction with instructors. While continuing to pursue his artistic and performing passions prior to medical school, he engaged in science and humanitarianism, starting a tutoring company, Ivy Tutors, in 2013 and creating a specialized transcription program for blind students.

Interested in the underrepresented populations, Alexis worked with experts in different fields to create digitized programs to explain visual images from textbooks into descriptions for blind students. This provided a novel way for this unique population to engage in the visual aspects of textbooks. Alexis’ ongoing project has not only been implemented in many universities, but it can also convert any educational material into a text and auditory format.

To Alexis, medicine and the performing arts are one and the same. “It’s about people! And I love people!” he exclaims in enthusiasm when inquired about the similarities between the two fields. The people-centric approach and storytelling involved attract him to pursue medicine as well as the performing arts. The adaptability, listening, flexibility and critical thinking are also overlaps.

Having just begun at University of South Carolina-Greenville, Alexis has loved the burgeoning path of his lifelong passion though he admits to the incredible amounts of studying that already inundate his life. Going forward, Alexis intends to keep his extracurricular passions: screenwriting, maintaining his tutoring company and pioneering humanitarianism efforts at his institution. Currently, the greatest challenges he foresees is keeping up with the academic rigor while balancing life, businesses, and passions. His greatest worry is being unaware of his own limitations and becoming overly ambitious, yet all his endeavors work in symbiosis. Looking forward to the future, it’s going to be a bright and busy year for Alexis!

Romela Petrosyan Romela Petrosyan (2 Posts)

Medical Student Editor

University of Central Florida College of Medicine

Romela is a Class of 2017 medical student at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. She was born in Yerevan, Armenia and grew up in Russia until the age of 15 at which point she immigrated to the United States. She is quadrilingual and has completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Irvine with Honors in Biological Sciences. Romela has extensive experience in clinical research, medical education development, and community service. In her free time, she enjoys cross-fit, long-distance running, painting, and choreographing. She has completed her first 26.2 mile marathon in DisneyWorld in 2016.

Nita Chen, MD Nita Chen, MD (39 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and in-Training Staff Member Emeritus

University of Florida Fixel Movement and Neurorestoration Institute

Nita Chen is a current movement disorders fellow at University of Florida Movement and Neurorestoration program. She is Class of 2017 medical student at Albany Medical College. To become cultural, she spent her early educational years in Taiwan and thoroughly enjoyed wonderful Taiwanese food and milk tea, thus ruining her appetite for the rest of her life in the United States. Aside from her neuroscience and cognitive science majors during her undergraduate career, she holed herself up in her room writing silly fictional stories, doodling, and playing the piano. Or she could be found spazzing out like a gigantic science nerd in various laboratories. Now she just holes up in her room to study most of the time.