Fourth-Year Medical Student Shares His Journey from Art to Medicine

Aaron Rosenblum

Aaron Rosenblum, a fourth-year University of Minnesota Medical School student, started down a career path as an artist.

Rosenblum, originally from Doylestown, Pa., received his undergraduate degree in media and cultural studies, with a minor in American studies, at Macalester College, before beginning his medical education journey at the U of M Medical School.

What inspired you to pursue medicine?

I spent several years as a working artist, making interactive public art that engaged the community in difficult questions around issues of justice and truth. Later on, I found a deep appreciation for modern medical science and saw an opportunity as a physician to help bridge the messiness of human existence with the careful logic of medicine in pursuit of more full and fulfilling lives.

What are some of the highlights of your training at the U of M Medical School so far?

The launch into my clinical years was rocky, with the COVID-19 pandemic delaying my start and leaving me full of wonder at just what I'd be walking into when I finally did make it. Now, I'm even more grateful to have the opportunity to pursue this work. I’ve spent my third year doing RPAP (Rural Physician Associates Program) in St. Croix Falls, Wis. Through this experience, I’ve deepened my connection to the St. Croix River Valley, grew more confident and competent in my medical knowledge and had the privilege to follow patients through many stops on their medical journey. Among the countless meaningful experiences I’ve had, I helped to deliver babies of staff members I worked with, sat with a patient through a new cancer diagnosis and got to take care of entire families in clinic.

I also have gotten more involved with advocacy around the issue of climate change, the environment and their effects on health. This year, I am serving as the Climate Smart Healthcare co-chair for Medical Students for a Sustainable Future, a national organization of medical students. Locally, I’ve been involved in efforts within the medical school to improve our institutional commitment to the threat multiplier of climate change and have been supporting local activism around the controversial Line 3 oil pipeline. As part of this work, I was recently invited to speak at the Climate Health Action Program (CHAP) Lecture Series hosted by the Department of Medicine. This series was developed to raise awareness about the intersection between climate justice and health.

You have received the Dr. David and Carol Jean Craig Endowed Scholarship, the Eldore and Lois Nash Endowed Scholarship, the John Ylvisaker, M.D., Scholarship. How did it feel to learn you had received these scholarships?

It feels fantastic to know that others who have come before me saw that it was important to help ease the burden of what is a very expensive education. To all scholarship donors, a heartfelt thank you, thank you, thank you! Scholarships have allowed me more flexibility to pursue my chosen specialty of family medicine. Moreover, I will have the flexibility to practice in underserved areas and the financial ability to start paying it forward much sooner.

Outside of medical school, what are your favorite things to do?

I am an avid gardener. I love working the soil and growing food for myself and others. I'm also committed to being an active member of the communities that I live in as a volunteer, collaborator and neighbor.

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