Medical student draws from background to prioritize underserved areas


Catherine Lavallee knew medical school would be challenging even for healthy individuals, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream while living with an autoimmune disorder that can sometimes leave her in acute pain.  Diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) at age 5, Lavallee lives with sudden and severe onset of symptoms, known as flares, which cause inflammation and joint pain.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine was Lavallee’s first choice when applying to medical schools mainly because of the opportunities offered by the school’s research program. The school is one of only a few in the country that provides a rigorous longitudinal research program built into its curriculum.