photo of Dr. Amaya
Dr. Michelle Amaya
photo: Courtesy of Michelle Amaya

Medical school: Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine

College: James Madison University

Starters

Where did you grow up?

I was born in El Salvador, located in Central America. I went to a bilingual school, Colegio Cristiano Josue. Later on, my family moved to Virginia Beach, VA and I graduated from Bayside High School Health Sciences Academy.

What made you decide to go to medical school?

While living in El Salvador, I had the opportunity to serve as a translator for a non-profit organization called Orphan Helpers. Through this organization, I volunteered with missionaries in orphanages, midway homes, and detention centers to help rehabilitate the lives of abused women, abandoned children, and ex-gang members. Witnessing the devastating effects of poverty and limited access to health care and education in youth, made me passionate about pursuing medicine as an avenue to help others. Medicine is a tool for education and early intervention.

What made you decide to choose pediatrics as a specialty?

Pediatrics is a great tool for early intervention to help maximize a child’s potential in life so that they may have a meaningful and generational impact in their community. Children are resilient. They have unlimited potential and a great ability to succeed when given proper guidance. In addition, I enjoy that this profession offers an opportunity to educate and equip families for success.

Residency

What do you like about pediatrics as a field?

I like the continuity in pediatrics and the opportunity I get to establish relationships with families. I enjoy working with parents as a patient advocate. Pediatrics is a great opportunity for education in preventive medicine. Mainly, I enjoy working with children. They make me smile.

What are some things you hope to learn/do in you training? Any particular topics of interests in pediatrics?

I would like to work with medical students. I learn best by teaching. I also hope to be able to learn how to incorporate osteopathic manipulative medicine/treatment in my daily practice.

What do you want to do when you’re done? Any plans for fellowship vs general pediatrics?

I would like to practice general pediatrics in an outpatient setting with routine newborn nursery care. I also would like to work in academia one day, either teaching at a medical school or another medical educational institution. I enjoy teaching and helping others learn.

Personal

What are your hobbies?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my nephews and my family. They live in Tulsa, and I spend time with them on the weekends when I am not working. I also enjoy speaking with my fiancée and best friend Jimmy. I also enjoy cooking. I like making Salvadorean soups like Sopa de Albondigas or Sopa de Pollo.

What are your interests/passions outside of medicine?

I like playing and watching soccer. One day I would like to save up to go to the World Cup or a professional soccer game. I also enjoy traveling and trying foods from different cultures.

What’s something interesting about you that you’d want to share?

I went to college on a full ride through the Gates Millennium Scholars Program awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Hispanic National Fund and the Centennial Scholars Program at James Madison University. Medical school was not easy, and it took me five years to complete it. Along the way, I became a TA for OMM. I matched at my top choice of residency, and now I work at my dream job with an amazing group of residents and attendings. I have learned that life has its ups and downs. It is important to surround yourself with people who love you. No matter what you may go through, in the end, all things work out for your good.