Dare to Dream | Supporting Medical Education Through Scholarships | Weill Cornell Medicine

when I think of where I come from where my family comes from I realize an education can change everything I grew up in Belleville New Jersey right outside Newark my childhood house was always bursting at the seams with family my cousin's used to live in the basement my parents and my sister and me lived on the first floor and my aunt and uncle's families lived on the second floor it's always been this place full of laughter with children running up and down the stairs and there's a kitchen on every floor so there's always food cooking when I think about home makes me smile at my public high school resources were tight those of us who dreamt big College advisors would ask us to dream a little bit smaller to aim a little bit lower it was heartbreaking especially when I knew I was at stake my mother showed me firsthand what could be accomplished with a good education my mother grew up in a rural town in the Philippines with ten brothers and sisters in a house with dirt floors and her thatched roof she wanted desperately to bring change to her family so she begged my grandfather to send her to college to become a doctor he managed to Center to the u.s. to practise pediatrics and upon graduation she was able to send every single one of her siblings to college the medications of the patients and it was like a really good experience my mother is probably the single most influential person in my life she's a tiny lady but she's a force of nature my father passed away when I was 10 years old around the same time my mom had to go on disability it was a hard time for my sister my mom and me it was a three of us against the world in undergrad I was a history and journalism major initially planning to go to law school after graduation I worked for the Clinton Foundation as a writer I was writing a lot about health and it got me thinking that maybe the world of medicine is where I belonged because it made me feel so alive when I was writing about it so I decided to go back to school which was so nerve-racking for me because I wasn't sure how I'd be able to pay for any of it when I was looking at my choices for medical schools I found that Weill Cornell was the perfect fit for me and so that's why it's the only school that I applied to luckily for me they offered me a really great scholarship which afforded me the freedom to choose any field I'm passionate about and not have to base my decision on my burden of student loans in a couple of months I'm going to finally be a primary care doctor and I'm going to work mostly with the underserved probably in urban communities like the one I grew up in these scholarships are a game-changer they can really change the landscape of a person's life not only that person's but everyone around that person it changes the course of life for an entire family and scholarship did that for my family now I feel a responsibility to pay it forward and figure out how we're gonna be able to you know raise enough money for the next year for our scholarship so my family and I have been working with the Bata on foundation to fundraise to give full four-year college scholarships to 12 students living in abject poverty in the Philippines I'm hoping that these degrees make an impact is to provide quality for me it was one college degree my mom's degree that altered the course of my entire family history with my Weill Cornell scholarship I know it will also improve the lives of my future family and I'm hoping the lives of my future patients


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Dr. Rufin! Weill-Cornell is my dream medical school and this video made me fall in love with it even more. I was also a history/journalism major prior to doing my post-bac 🙂 So awesome to see a profile on someone who also had a non-traditional path!

  2. absolutely blown away by this video… truly inspiring. Congratulations on all of your hard work and accomplishments, Dr. Rufin. Your patients will be blessed to have you as a care provider.

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