Hello! My name is Carolina Roberts-Santana and I am an International Medical Graduate. I graduated from Medical School in the Dominican Republic in 2008. In 2009, my husband Andis Santana who is also an International Graduate was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome after two heart attacks at age 26. These events forced us to leave the Dominican Republic and come to the US for an ablation. As we pondered our options, we decided to stay in the US to ensure that if anything Andis would have adequate medical care.
However, the decision of staying came with its own avalanche. In the Dominican Republic we were not only medical graduates but we were practicing physicians. Now, we are no one?
The feelings of desperation were overwhelming and of course, we thought we were the only ones in the world with this situation. In March 2010, I was 7 months pregnant with my first child, and Andis and I walked into Dorcas Place to look for answers. We were directed to the RI Welcome Back center office in the back. At first, I was skeptical, I spoke English and knew all I needed to know about the USMLE process, what could they offer me? I was in for a surprise.
I met a family! I felt supported! I learned that there is more to my situation at that moment that I thought there was. I felt revived and I found purpose. Since then, RI Welcome Back helped me move forward in my career. I put my medical career aside temporarily and took on different jobs. In 2015, I started working at the RI Department of Health as an Assistant Health Administrator, what an honor! In 2014, I was nominated the National Pediatric Emergency Care Council Chair Elect a 6-year term. In 2015, I became the RI Welcome Back, board Vice President and I graduated with a Master of Science in Health Administration with a 4.0. All great accomplisments that I would have probably not achieved if I wouldn't have walked into the Welcome Back Center that March in 2010.
It really does take a village! People telling me, YOU CAN DO IT! Watching others go through my same struggles and helping them along the way is a gift that I will never forget and I will cherish for life. The Rhode Island Welcome Back Center was that for me! Every person will have a unique experience with the RIWBC, some processes take longer than others, but to have someone there saying, I get it, I understand, you can get through this, is the real value added.
Today I say... THANK YOU RI WELCOME BACK CENTER for helping me and my Family be the best that we can be.