Camila Jaramillo is a fourth year student at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University near Fort Lauderdale, FL, who sought out the dermatology rotation at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Her participation was part of the Visiting Student Learner Opportunity (VSLO) program the U of M hosts in partnership with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Born and raised in Miami, Jaramillo is a first generation American, college student and medical student with parents who grew up in Colombia.

With a penchant for academic medicine, Jaramillo has always been drawn to academic medical centers, where research and clinical care abound. “It’s the best kind of medicine there is,” she says, “because they have the research and they’re able to practice it.”

Aiming for a career in medicine, research and practice

Jaramillo has always been open-minded about what she wants to do with her career, but there is one piece that will always be present. “I’m interested in learning as much as possible, because I feel like I essentially give back more that way,” she says.

When she started her medical education, Jaramillo already held a master’s degree in nutrition and planned to focus on preventative medicine. She thought she would pursue internal medicine, where she knew she could serve patients in underserved communities.

Camilla Jaramillo and a group of volunteer medical students posing for a group photo.

“As a pre-medical student, I volunteered and led various medical mission trips to Guatemala and Honduras, which is really what inspired my service-oriented career,” she remembers, adding, “These showed me the need for healthcare in general.”

Her internal medicine aspirations changed, though, once she began learning from dermatologists across the U.S. as part of her education. These opportunities exposed her to advanced autoimmune diseases that had severely impacted patients’ quality of life. Through those experiences, she discovered that she could do more for patients and address health inequities where they are also prevalent– in dermatology care.

A path to Minnesota

Dermatology has a reputation for being a competitive field to enter, but Jaramillo is determined. As she was exploring different dermatology training programs across the country, she began digging for where she could rotate in advanced research programs that had welcomed osteopathic students in the past.

That’s how she discovered the U of M and AAMC’s VSLO program and a health equity scholarship to support her through it. “I came across the U of M when I was looking for academic centers that would lead me towards the types of mentors I would value learning from, then I discovered it offered an opportunity that supported that experience– It was like a blessing.”

When Jaramillo started her rotation at the U of M Medical School, she knew something was different. “You kind of have your own place, like you have a role that’s valued and respected, and that’s what sets it apart for me,” she says.

Collage of photos with Camilla Jaramillo smiling in front of the University of Minnesota Medical School and with her faculty mentors.

Jaramillo remembers being excited about the subspecialists she would work with too, noting, “Dermatology is so small that when you want to rotate in one of its even smaller subspecialized fields, it can be hard to fit into an open spot as a student.”

A particular kind of training Jaramillo had her eyes on was in the Mohs micrographic skin surgery. “I had actually been looking for a Mohs surgery rotation for a while, and at the U it was already embedded into the rotation, among other clinics such as its vascular pediatric dermatology and epidermolysis bullosa clinics. The experience made me more passionate about learning by increasing my exposure to rare diseases and procedures that fewer physicians do.”

As she looks toward applying for a residency program, Jaramillo is excited about how her experience in Minnesota helped her prepare, noting, “It's strong in teaching because you get to learn so much, so you feel driven to continue advancing.”

Wherever her medical career takes her, Jaramillo knows there will always be two pillars that guide her: learning and service.

“I am so happy that I had the chance to be challenged at an institution like the U of M, which provides diverse opportunities for those in training. Learning is my passion.”

Combined with her call to service, Jaramillo is looking forward to bringing academic medicine to those who may be unable to access specialty care like dermatology, she says, “Where I can use my Spanish and service backgrounds to help patients who need it.”