A Global Pandemic Confirms a Former Student’s Passion for Health Care

Jasmine Bazinet-Phillips taught elementary school in Baltimore before setting her sights on medicine.

After completing UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program in December, she’s now gaining health care experience during an unprecedented global crisis. Bazinet-Phillips is working as a newborn hearing screening technician at the UVM Medical Center, and as an emergency medicine clinical research coordinator for the UVM Larner College of Medicine.

“As I continue to research COVID-19 and learn more about the virus, there is definitely a larger urge and desire to get in the field and help,” she says. “I really cherish the moments that I’m able to help with research by applying my newly found skills in the absence of a cure or vaccine.”

Preparing for a Health Care Career

After graduating from Colby College and earning her master’s degree in early childhood education from Johns Hopkins University, Bazinet-Phillips taught for three years. It was in the classroom where she became more aware of literacy gaps among young students—and how those foundational skills need to start long before kindergarten.

She explored deeper and became aware of the critical role that pediatricians play in literacy development, which made her want to pursue medicine.

“I wanted to learn more about the internal mechanisms to ensure that everyone has the foundational skills to be successful,” Bazinet-Phillips says.

 

Hear more from Bazinet-Phillips in this Students on the Frontlines of Healthcare Podcast.

Changing Gears to Study Medicine

Bazinet-Phillips left her teaching job to enroll in UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, which is a 12 to 24-month program designed to help individuals achieve their goal of admission into medical school or other health professional programs.

UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program helps students pursue medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapy, and other health professions.

Unique features of the UVM program include:

  • Various tracks for healthcare specializations
  • Access to UVM Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center
  • Integration with the UVM Larner College of Medicine
  • Outside the classroom learning opportunities for students, including informal discussions hosted by physicians and other health professionals
  • Linkage agreements (affiliations) with various medical schools
  • Personalized academic support and a strong advising component

A Passion for Medicine

A month after Bazinet-Phillips completed the UVM program, the first Coronavirus outbreak was reported in Snohomish County, Washington. By March, Vermont had its first confirmed case.

In the wake of the pandemic, Bazinet-Phillips’ emergency department research role has transitioned to a remote position. But she continues to go to the UVM Medical Center a few days a week to help conduct newborn screening.

“It’s really important because we know hearing is connected to learning and language development,” she says. “Technically, I could just choose not to go (to work), but then you would have a lot of babies that aren’t being screened. Is it fair to that family that their newborn wasn’t able to get screened because they were born during a pandemic? That everything was chaotic and people chose not to come in? So I really just trying my best, and I think everyone else is doing that, too.”

Bazinet-Phillips, who is now studying for the MCAT for medical school admission, isn’t sure what the future holds. But she is grateful to be gaining hands-on experience.

“Everything is really truly up in the air for the medical school admissions process,” she says. “It’s a great time to do research. When I say great, it’s maybe not the best word choice here, but it definitely confirms that I want to be in this field, and I want to help.”

Hear more stories of Post-Bacc Premed students working on the frontlines of healthcare during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

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