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WATCH: First year med student Emilee Herringshaw talks about what drew her to medicine

First-year medical student Emilee Herringshaw was compelled to pursue a career in medicine to have the privilege of providing and advocating for patients. She said it’s important to see the patient as a person and not a diagnosis.

“What has fueled my passion is looking at how can we help patients and their families and overall communities rise to the challenge of health care,” said Herringshaw, a Longmeadow native who is enrolled in the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) track of the School of Medicine and the UMass Medical School-UMass Lowell MBA program.

Herringshaw and her classmates in the School of Medicine Class of 2023 will undergo a rite of passage at the White Coat Ceremony at UMass Medical School on Friday, Sept. 13, when they are cloaked with the enduring symbol of the medical profession. The event will be held at 2 p.m. under a tent on the campus green.

Herringshaw’s path to medical school was not linear. After graduating from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, she worked in the financial district and then in the dermatology field as a lead medical assistant before deciding to study medicine.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a toddler, she said she has plenty of firsthand experience with learning to maneuver through the health care system. She credits her family, friends and medical providers for supporting her care. Now, she wants to provide that support through her future role as a physician.