December 2019, the month a mysterious viral outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, will be forever remembered as an important moment in history. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our lives, and strained the healthcare system and economy like never before. At the heart of the pandemic in New York City, we faced the worst. Originally from Mumbai, India and a Grant Medical College alumni, I moved to New York City for chief residency after completing my Internal Medicine Residency from JFK Medical Center, University of Miami. In this blog I describe my experience as an Internal Medicine Chief Resident working in New York City, sharing the difficulties encountered and the lessons learned.
Since I started in high school, I have been away from my home to study. At 13 years old, it was hard. Now I realize hard moments prepare you for great achievements along the way. The question is how to pass hard moments: for some of us, it is difficult to see the end prize in the beginning, because the road is multifactorial. However, the purpose of the journey is learning patience and endurance, not the destination itself. All I ever wanted was to do good, affect good, make a positive impact. We all should start walking with purpose, with good intentions. The destination may be different than initially thought, but it might be even better than our dreams.
I grew up in a modest family in rural India, watching people in the underprivileged strata of the society suffer from diseases that could have been easily treated if they had access to state-of-the-art healthcare. Experiencing the devastating consequences of health issues firsthand left an indelible mark in my mind. That lasting impression and a lifelong fascination with science is what led to my passion and ambition for medicine.
By ECFMG Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program Team
ECFMG’s Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) has been the sole visa sponsor for J-1 exchange visitor physicians for decades. As an organization, we’ve always known that the physicians we sponsor are remarkable individuals. We’ve seen them exhibit great bravery, dedication, and talent. But this year, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, we’ve never been more proud of them or of the role that we play in supporting their journeys in medicine.
An Interview with Fred Valente Regional Advisor, ECFMG Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program
Fred Valente celebrated his 30th year as an ECFMG employee this fall, working as a regional advisor for the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP). The following is an interview conducted by Journeys in Medicine to chronicle his achievement.
30 years! How does it feel to reflect on this milestone moment in your career?
Return with me now to the thrilling days of yesteryear, 1989. The Berlin Wall was torn down. The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize. The World Series was postponed for ten days as a result of an earthquake. An entire generation grew up since I started working here. Considering that this sort of longevity in one job is practically unheard of these days, I consider myself to be extremely lucky. Through my three decades, I have worked with many wonderful and talented people. We have always worked hard… really hard. We also laughed together and, sometimes, we cried.