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Highlighting the Heroes: University of Miami Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

H.E.R.O. Award

Dyani Loo,MD

Psychiatry, New Mexico – Albuquerque, NM
Miami’s warm globally-oriented climate is embedded in the personality of the UM family, its faculty and its diverse residents. That spirit instilled in her during medical school helped her develop a passion for addressing health care access and mental health in needy areas around the world and learning how to empower disenfranchised populations. When she told faculty that she wanted to design a community-based research project in rural areas of Colombia where no prior health studies/outreach had been done, faculty supported her even though at times this seemed logistically impossible. By taking things step by step to learn the necessary skills and the initiative do work in places overlooked, step by step, she was able to carry out service/research projects in Colombia as well as Peru, and Uganda as a medical student. New Mexico is the perfect place for her to flourish and learn psychiatry. NM as a state consistently ranks #1 in the nation for substance related deaths and the need for passionate psychiatrists interested in pushing new ideas to improve access, outreach, education, and to reduce stigma is immense. NM’s program, being the only psychiatry program in the state, has an enormous catchment area, and specializes in rural and telepsychiatry. She is part of a rural track in which she will be able to pursue her interest in community-based research and as a first year intern in her spare time, she has started doing an outreach project in an off-grid migrant settlement outside of Albuquerque. Currently the community has no access to water, viable roads or entitled city services. Dr. Loo is working alongside community members to address health needs and empower residents through action oriented focus groups. Prior to medical school, Dr. Loo worked at a residential facility for adults with schizophrenia. When she interviewed for that job, for the final interview the program director took her to the complex and let the patients interview her to see if it would be a good fit. She remembers playing basketball with them; it was a sunny day and afterward, everyone was sitting on a picnic bench blasting Jimi Hendrix and making jokes. Everyone deserves happy, sunny moments. And not everyone gets them due to chronic mental illness, substance use, poverty, discrimination, oppression, trauma, war. By going back to school to try and become a leader in psychiatry, she realized that she could work on learning skills to address individual and systemic changes to increase the length and frequency of those fleeting breakthrough moments for people in most need of them. Everyone who enters medical school makes a sacrifice of hard work for years of sleepless nights, but she notes that this is a small sacrifice when inspired by the hardworking men and women that she has met abroad, all working to make change and care for their families in some of the most remote parts of the world. Being the first doctor in her family, she plans on using her education to continue working hard to help others have opportunities. Vote for Dyani here. If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.