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Student Spotlight: Mina Botros connects patients to care through Worcester Free Clinics

School of Medicine student a native of Egypt; passionate about community service

By Kylee Denesha

UMass Medical School Communications

October 13, 2020

Second-year School of Medicine student Mina Botros is the co-president of the Worcester Free Care Collaborative, a group of free medical programs in the greater Worcester area that offers free patient care. Staffed by UMass Medical School students and physicians volunteering their time, the collaborative oversees seven local clinics.

“I became involved in this initiative when I started school at UMass Medical,” said Botros. “I wrote about the clinics in my applications, and right off the bat, I knew I wanted to participate. It’s been a great service-learning experience. Once I got a taste for just how rewarding it is to have a direct impact on patient care, I was certain this is where I fit in medicine.”

When COVID-19 began to spread, Botros helped lead telehealth programs in the free clinics, allowing leaders and staff to continue serving patients while maintaining safe social distancing practices. Alongside a group of student volunteers, he also shepherded an effort to contact existing patients by reviewing their medical charts to ensure they continued receiving proper care.

“It was our top priority to make sure we were giving our patient population what they needed while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Although it was challenging to do this virtually, we found a system that worked for all. We’ve gotten to a point now where we have a smooth system; we have patients coming in and getting the treatment they need, while connecting them to resources for low cost medications and social services.”

Botros and his family came to the United States from Egypt when he was 6; he learned English as a second language.

“Egypt embraced a village mentality with dozens of people around to care for you and talk with you. I can remember moving to the U.S. and struggling to communicate with new people. However, I gained an appreciation for communication in general, whether it’s writing, reading or verbal conversation,” he said.

“Through that experience, and my explorations in school, I realized I loved physics and engineering. Later down the line, this passion inspired me to pursue a medical career. Of all the things that we build, whether it’s computers or bridges or cars or whatever it is, nothing is as flexible or as complicated or regenerative or adaptable as the human body.”

After receiving a biomedical engineering degree in 2017 from Boston University, Botros is on track to earn his MD in 2024, as he is taking an extra year to focus on the free clinics and cardiology research.

Working under Colleen Harrington, MD, assistant professor of medicine, he is analyzing echocardiograms to study “heartbreak syndrome,” the phenomenon of physical heart changes due to stressful emotional events.

Botros also takes part in a number of optional enrichment electives, including courses on substance use disorder, narratives in medicine and healer’s art.

“I’m a huge proponent of learning hands-on as much as possible,” he said. “It was definitely an adjustment in the beginning, but it’s amazing. We can learn so much about an entire organ system over the course of three weeks, among many other facets of medicine.”

The Student Spotlight series features students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Graduate School of Nursing and School of Medicine. For more information on UMass Medical School and how to apply, please visit the Prospective Students page.