Tannia Rodriguez is one of more than 300 students who make up the incoming Class of 2025 at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
WSU is familiar territory for Rodriguez, who earned from the university a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomaterials and a minor in Latin American studies in 2017, and a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Tissue Engineering in 2018. She also has a master’s degree in Global Health, which she received from the University of California at San Francisco in 2019.
Her father worked as an engineer at a small hospital in her home town of Temuco, Chile, prompting her initial interest in medicine.
“As a result, I got to spend a lot of time with the doctors. It wasn’t until we moved to America and struggled accessing language and race concordant care that I began to see the medical system in a different light,” Rodriquez said. “Rather than becoming a doctor to solely cure diseases, I began to see medicine as a way to advocate for minority patients and the most vulnerable.”
During her time at WSU, Rodriguez volunteered with Vision Detroit, working with Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences Anju Goyal, M.D., to provide free vision screenings and follow-up care to minority individuals in Detroit.
“Being able to connect with the community in my native tongue, while also ensuring they receive the best ophthalmologic care, was truly inspiring and opened my eyes to the impact I could have within my community as a bilingual medical professional,” she said.
Rodriguez plans to continue working with the WSU mentors who have supported and advocated for her.
“I chose to study medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine because of all of the resources and support available to students. Having spent five years at Wayne State University, I was able to work closely with staff, faculty and medical students at the School of Medicine. I got to see and learn how the institution as a whole focuses on serving the community and helping to alleviate disparities in various forms. From service requirements to student-led outreach efforts, the School of Medicine puts giving back at the forefront,” she added. “I am also looking forward to connecting with past principal investigators and mentors at the school. Since leaving WSU to study Global Health at UCSF, my WSU mentors and principal investigators have continued to be a source of support and encouragement, and through their guidance I feel confident in my future as a medical student. I am excited to begin my medical training at an institution that has already given me so much and is devoted to fighting against health disparities – something so close to my heart.”