OTS Alumni Reconnect Professionally at Local Practice
Raj Patel, MD (OTS ‘04) and Jacqueline Graham, MD (OTS ‘06) shared the halls of Old Trail for several years during their childhood. Jackie was at OTS for six years while Raj attended from preschool all the way through grade 8 graduation. Neither could have predicted how their professional paths would one day become intertwined again many years later.
After going their separate ways – Raj to Western Reserve Academy and Jackie to Hawken School – their shared interest in the field of dermatology brought them back together, first as students at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), then as residents at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania.
Last summer, both Raj and Jackie accepted positions as dermatologists at Akron Dermatology, where they are working under their former NEOMED mentor, Dr. Eliot Mastow.
“I can’t believe how lucky I was to connect with Drs. Graham and Patel,” said Dr. Mastow. “I didn’t know their connection to Old Trail at first, but it really makes perfect sense. Pretty much everyone I know who started at Old Trail has gone on to contribute back to wherever they live. We are extremely fortunate to welcome Jackie and Raj back to Ohio.”
Raj and Jackie each have fond memories of their formative years at Old Trail.
“Whether it was having the Bath Fire Department teach me about fire safety, seeing and learning about boa constrictors in Mrs. Morgan’s science class, adventures to Indigo Lake with Mr. Yannarella, or having a famous after-school swimming birthday party with Mrs. Novak and Mr. Pintola, I will never forget these or countless other memories,” Raj said. “Experiences like these at Old Trail set the stage for my commitment to service and the sciences.”
After high school, Raj attended Emory University where his interest in the healthcare system blossomed. He graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Economics. After being reunited with Jackie at NEOMED, Raj completed his intern year at Summa Health System. He and Jackie went on to Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania for Dermatology Residency where Raj served as Chief Resident in his final year and received The O. Fred Miller Golden Curette Award for caring for each patient with equanimity, compassion, and kindness.
Raj said he was attracted to the field of Dermatology due to its integration of general medical care, procedures, and pathology and the ability to build lasting relationships with patients to manage their dermatologic conditions.
Jackie recalls OTS as a special place that helped shape her future.
“I attribute numerous wonderful childhood memories to Old Trail, which still feels like home and where my friends and teachers feel like family,” she said. “The engaging classroom and out-of-classroom experiences truly sparked my passion for science. I particularly loved the class trips and many outdoor opportunities such as the Walk-a-Thon, ski club and the eighth grade canoe trip – despite our canoe being tipped over!”
Throughout college and medical school, Jackie dedicated much of her time to community service involvement, particularly with medical educational projects, childhood camps and working with underserved communities. She was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) and the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), which recognizes students who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine.
Jackie chose dermatology as a specialty because of her interest in helping patients’ quality of life and self-esteem, the ability to have longitudinal patient relationships with a variety of age groups, the visual aspect of the field, and the combination of interesting underlying medicine with the chance to perform procedures.
Both Raj and Jackie are thrilled to be back home, following their passions and caring for the Northeast Ohio community!
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