Pursuing Pediatric Dermatology: Mentorship Experiences in Medical School

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In this interview, medical student Brenda Abreu Molnar discussed the SPD’s 2022 Medical Student Mentorship Award and her experiences leading up to it.

In a recent HCPLive interview, the Society for Pediatric Dermatology’s (SPD) 2022 Medical Student Mentorship Award Recipient Brenda Abreu Molnar, spoke about her mentorship program, her experiences working with Amy S. Paller, MD, and more.

Molnar, a medical student at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, explained some of the experiences that led up to her receiving the Student Mentorship Award.

“Between undergrad and medical school, I actually taught middle school science for 2 years in Miami,” she explained. “So I took some time to get some life experience and make some money. But working with kids, I think, was very invigorating. They're very curious people.”

She noted that prior to her own choice to explore the field of pediatric dermatology, her sister pursued a medical education and became a pediatrician. Molnar also added that her experience teaching middle school science helped her in several ways.

“After being at the college level, studying neuroscience and these very high level perspectives in science, it was very fun to go back to the basics and talk about the scientific method,” she said. “Going from finding a problem to coming up with the conclusion.”

Molnar also discussed her work with Amy S. Paller, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Dr. Paller is incredible, and she's been a phenomenal mentor, but also a role model,” she said. “And something that I very much admire about her is that even though she's very busy…she has a basic science lab, she has her clinical trials unit, she's chair of the department, and has so many so many roles and hats that she wears. (But) she takes the time to really work with her mentees.”

Lastly, Molnar described learning about the Dermatology Interest Group Association (DIGA) through Instagram and then learning about SPD’s mentorship program.

“So they posted about the SPD Mentorship Award,” she explained. “And at that time, I had already known that I was going to work with Dr. Amy Paller for my research year. So I reached out to her to look for some funding for the year. And so we kind of brainstormed what 1 of my projects would be during this gap year, and I applied.”

Molnar expressed her gratitude at having received the award and what it had meant to her in the course of her studies.

To learn more, view the full HCPLive interview segment above.