Amro Mohamed wants to be a doctor — he also wants to understand the health care system he’ll work within.
Name: Amro Mohamed
Position: I’m a senior in the Department of Health Policy and Management
Time at the Gillings School: I’m in my second year at the School.
What I do at UNC Gillings (and why I love it): I’m majoring in health policy and management and minoring in chemistry and biology. I also work in a research lab at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. I’ve been helping out there since I was a freshman, and I run polymerase chain reaction tests that are part of UNC’s preclinical cancer research. This past summer, I landed a great internship in Emory University’s Radiation Oncology Department. I got to do billing, coding and audits, take minutes, act as an orientation leader and engage in clinical experiences, learning the stories of patients who were getting radiation therapy.
What I like most about the Gillings School are the courses. I’m taking one in epidemiology and one in environmental health right now, and the fact that they’re not part of my main focus area makes me feel like I’ll be a well-rounded graduate. The case studies we look at are really interesting, and group projects mean I constantly hear from perspectives different than mine.
The pivotal moment that led me to public health: stems from my dad being an oncologist. I’ve always wanted to go to med school and do the work he does, but along the way I decided it would be interesting to major in health policy and gain a better understanding of how insurance works, how doctors are paid, how hospitals make money — basically, the administrative side of the medical field. I want to understand how decisions are made on a large scale for the system I’ll be working within. Also, my sister was a UNC undergrad before me, and she told me her biggest regret was not studying at the Gillings School!
My first job ever: was as a busboy in an Italian restaurant. I grew up in Greensboro, N.C., and at 14 my idea of making it big was working my way up to waiter status. My dad’s friend owned the restaurant, and I’d try to talk to parties, greet guests at the host’s station and do other things like that in an effort to impress him. The servers laughed at me, but I guess I’ve always been about the hustle.
At the Gillings School, I’m the treasurer for the Student Government Association. Coming into the position was a challenge because I had to learn about how funding is organized at the University: how to apply for money, how to reimburse people and so on. It’s a complicated process, but being in the middle of things is so worth it. I find out about great events I might have missed otherwise.
Something most people don’t know about me: is that I love pick-up basketball. I also really like working with children, so I volunteer with the Chapel Hill YMCA as a youth coach. Some of my friends are involved, too, and we love getting to know the kids and their families. When first-graders play basketball, it’s hilarious; some of them just walk off the court if they get bored. It never stops being funny how they treat me like a total adult — I’m “Mr. Amro” to them. What else? I’m learning to snowboard from my cousin, which I enjoy because it’s a great workout.
If I could learn one thing about the future from a crystal ball: I’d ask whether I’m getting into a good medical school come May!
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