Profile: Brandon Lewko, MD (AUC '16)
For Brandon Lewko, MD ’16, his medical education was key in helping him develop confidence in the hospital. “AUC did a lot to prepare me for everything I saw in clinical rotations, and it made me feel very comfortable in that environment,” Dr. Lewko says.
We caught up with Dr. Lewko, a PGY-1 family medicine resident at United Hospital Center in West Virginia, to learn more about his clinical experience, his takeaways from MERP, and his time at AUC.
Where did you complete your rotations?
I completed the majority of my rotations at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and the rest at Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) in East Meadow, New York.
What did you take away from your time at Jackson?
I got a great start at Jackson because my attendings made me feel like an equal part of the team. I never sensed any hierarchy between attendings, residents and students. They expected a lot from us, and as a result I got so much hands-on experience.
One of my favorite rotations was surgery. I worked with a urologist on a very small team—for five weeks, it was just her and me, and she treated me like a resident, having me see my own patients. Of course, we’d talk about the plan and she would have the final call, but as we worked more and more together, I could do more of the procedures on my own. It really gave me a great sense of independence and built my confidence.
Did you have the same hands-on learning at NUMC?
Yes—I did my emergency rotation at NUMC, and if you showed initiative, the attendings let you be as involved as you wanted. Among all the students from different schools—US, Caribbean, and DO—I felt like I was one of the most equipped to be independent because of the training I received in Miami. They quickly gave me responsibilities that were comparable to those of first-year residents, whereas some of the other medical students might just give a basic report and that would be all they’d do.
What did you find most valuable about AUC’s medical sciences curriculum?
My time in St. Maarten, as well as clinical rotations, have been some of the best years of my life. AUC has a wonderful community. As a general rule of thumb, you could tell other students really cared and were willing to help each other. Professors went above and beyond to become more like friends than just faculty. Since I’ve left the island, I still keep in contact with Professor Boyd, who taught pathology. They all really wanted to make sure we succeeded.
What were your takeaways from the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP?)
In the first few semesters at AUC, there was a significant amount of material that I recognized from MERP. Seeing the material for the second time, I could build on it faster and understand it better. I think that’s one of the great benefits of MERP.
Why did you choose family medicine?
I have two passions—family and emergency medicine. I loved everything in medicine. I couldn’t see myself only treating a certain type of patient. With family medicine, I get to see everybody with no age limit or any limit on their condition.