The Alumni Interview: Andrew Dorizas, MD
In the Alumni Interview Series we have contacted students who graduated from our medical program and asked a few questions about what they are currently up to! This time we contacted Andrew Dorizas, MD, a graduate from 2012 and former student union president. He is currently working in the United States.
Please tell us about yourself. Where were you originally from, what made you decide to study medicine and why here in Hungary?
I am an American born citizen who emigrated to Greece at a young age. I grew up in Athens and attended an international baccalaureate high school. Even though I do not come from a family of physicians or people related to the medical field, I knew at a young age that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Due to financial restrictions I made the choice to attend an English speaking medical school in Eastern Europe. After doing a bit of research online and asking people around me, I came to the conclusion that University of Szeged was a strong program to attend. After taking the entrance exams for the Hungarian med schools, I was accepted to all schools but made the choice to stick with Szeged.
Medicine excited me for two main reasons: The obvious reason of job security in an economy that is somewhat unstable and more importantly the love I had for science and problem solving. Medicine is exactly that, a multi-layered convex application of science surrounded by unanswered questions and complicated cases.
Where do you currently work? Why did you choose this field? How is the working environment, pay and workload?
I am currently the Director of Research at Sadick Research Group in New York. I am working my way to a Dermatology residency in the US. Yes, that’s right, Dermatology. No matter what the general perception seems to be, there is always a way to achieve your goals. Via this route, I managed to meet many of the right people and more importantly impress the right people in order to get where I need to go.
My current salary is well above the average resident’s salary; therefore, I can easily get by on my salary. Once I begin residency things will change, but it will still be sufficient to get by. The end goal is still worth any troubles I might encounter during residency. The workload in research is demanding but worth the rewards.
Every goal can be achieved if you invest the time needed and be smart about your choices.
How well did your university studies prepare you? What skills where you missing, wishing you had? Do you wish you had done something different during you university years?
To be very honest, nothing can prepare you 100% for anything in life. Although the university provided proper educational fundamentals in medicine, being a physician is a continuous process of education and learning. My background for preparation included my classes in the university, preparing for all steps of the USMLE and learning clinical research from my wife. However, if I could go back in time, I would probably have gone to medical school in the US. Not just for an educational advantage but mostly because the system is set for the US medical students first and everyone else second.
What skills were most critical in your success?
Self-motivation and persistence. Enjoy life while working hard for your future.
Any words of wisdom and advice to students trying to decide where and what to work with?
There are many viable options for you to choose from. These range from the country you want to train in to the specialty you want to complete. All decisions you make should be because of what you want not because of what you’ve heard or read. Be kind to your classmates and remember that we are all in the same pot and we should do what we can to help ourselves and others. Every goal can be achieved if you invest the time needed and be smart about your choices.
Andrew, if students from Szeged are looking to apply to work in the States, what are the most important things that should keep in mind?
The most important things to focus on when applying for residency in the US (from the position of an American IMG):
- USMLE, USMLE, USMLE. Although this is not even close to being the single deciding factor on residency, it is by far the most important one. To clarify, a great score does not guarantee a residency spot but if you fail or have a low score then your chances for any residency are immensely lower. Therefore, it is important to put in your head early on that the first step to focus on is literally step one, and the following USMLE examinations also.
- Connections. After you have conquered the USMLE exams, the most important thing is who you know and really, who knows you. Applying to 1000 different hospitals with good scores does not automatically guarantee you a residency spot. Nowadays, US medical students as well as other IMGs are smart about their application process. This is a world of give and take. Spending time in a department and getting to know people will put you in a better position for interview season.
- Clinical Experience in the US. and letters of recommendation are important, very important. Spending some time in US hospitals will get you those letters, as well as introduce you the system here.
- Research. You hear everyone talk about research and why it’s important. Basically, you doing research means that you are part of the department in a way. During your time in research you should focus on achieving the following: Publications, Knowledge and Connections!
- Resources. Getting residency in the US is as rewarding as it is hyped up to be. The majority of hospitals are set up in such a way to produce great physicians after training. But the road to residency is an expensive one. Be aware that it will cost you a hefty investment until you make it but it is well worth it afterwards.
We thank Andrew for his words of advice and wish him all the success in his professional and personal life! Hopefully we will see him back in Szeged during the 30th year anniversary of the English program!
The Alumni Team