Search within:

Class of 2024 Graduate Profile: Gisselle Pichardo

March 22, 2024
HCOM graduate Gisselle Pichardo

Gisselle Pichardo was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to New York City as a child. She earned an associate's degree in math and science from La Guardia Community College in Queens, New York and a bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in psychology from The City College of New York. She attended the Heritage College's Athens campus, participated in the Summer Scholars and Pre-Matriculation programs and graduated from the Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways program. She matched into dermatology at the University of Oklahoma.

What was your childhood like? Who were your inspirations? Was there anything critical that happened that brought you to this point in life?

My childhood was interesting. I grew up in the Dominican Republic with various family members. My mom immigrated to the United States, and I was able to join her many years later when I was 10 years old. In the DR, life was fun, and I spent a lot of time outdoors. When I came to America, I had to grow up quickly. Life was very different, and I started working in high school to help my mom. I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but it has been a hard road. I do not have a traditional path to medicine, which makes me graduating from medical school such a huge accomplishment! My inspiration for everything I do is my mother. She truly is the hardest-working person I know. She has sacrificed so much so I can pursue my dreams, I am forever indebted to her. Her determination and grit have fueled me.

What led you to medical school? 

I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. Growing up I enjoyed science classes and was truly fascinated with medicine. I just had no idea how to accomplish my goal of becoming a physician. People who look like me for the most part do not have family members or know people in medicine who can guide them and explain the process. I have a passion for treating skin conditions, and I am thrilled to have matched into dermatology where I can become an expert in skin of color and help diversify medicine. 

What was the most impactful experience you had while in medical school?

I do not think I had a most impactful experience in medical school that I can recall. But I can say medical school is one of the most difficult things I have done. Medical school is mentally, emotionally and physically challenging in ways only other medical students can understand. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I can genuinely rely on when things become difficult. 

What was the most important lesson you learned while in medical school?

The most important lesson I learned while in medical school is to always put your best foot forward. Medical school is hard, and there were days when I questioned if I was going to make it to the end, but I never gave up (giving up was never truly an option). But questioning if I had "what it takes," or comparing myself to others were thoughts I had. But I leaned on my faith and kept pushing through and thankfully things worked out! 

Were you involved in research? If so, could you share more about what you worked on?

I was involved in research concerning weight bias and integrating a system to detect and help address it in the medical school curriculum. I also worked on a project comparing DO match rates to competitive specialties after the ACGME merger. 

What are you most excited about for your future?

Finally being able to do what I love. I believe I belong here and can’t wait to inspire and help those coming behind me to achieve their goals. 

Who has helped you along the way? Is there anyone you want to recognize?

I stand on the shoulders of many people. I have various mentors in different fields who have helped me in ways I’ll forever be thankful for. Dr. Endo, one of my dermatology mentors, faithfully guided me through the entire process of applying to dermatology. Dr. Jaynine Vado, who is my OhioHealth Physician Diversity Scholar mentor, was always a phone call away! But there are so many other people: Dr. Richard Bindernagel, Dr. Sharon Casapulla, Dr. Jerald Hurdle, Dr. Monèt McCalla, and my family/friends.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love spending time with friends and family! My favorite thing ever is trying new restaurants while sharing that meal with those who mean the most to me. I also enjoy spending time with my Boston Terrier Ava!