May 25, 2017 — Ever since Ricky Patel was a small child, he has been fascinated with the practice of medicine. He remembers looking forward to visits to the pediatrician in his hometown of Orlando, and it was during these early years that he realized he wanted to become a physician to help others. Today, with help from the Alicia R. Maun, M.D., Scholarship Fund, Patel is one step closer to achieving that goal.
“When you don’t have to constantly worry if your finances are enough to be able to fulfill your dream of finishing medical school, that removes a big burden from your shoulders,” said Patel, who graduated from the UF College of Medicine on Saturday.
The Maun scholarship was established in 2007 by UF College of Medicine alum Noel Maun, M.D. ’95, and Erica Maun to honor Noel’s mother, longtime UF physician Alicia Maun. The fund supports fourth-year students pursuing careers in internal or family medicine.
Later this summer, Patel will begin an internal medicine residency at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He considers the residency a stepping stone to a future career in cardiology.
“Internal medicine is the backbone of medicine. Practicing it well can have incredibly positive outcomes for patients,” he said. “After my residency, I hope to pursue a fellowship in cardiology. A decade from now, I hopefully will be an attending cardiologist in Orlando or Tampa.”
Patel said the UF College of Medicine more than adequately readies its students for their next professional steps.
“No matter where we end up for residency, we’ll be prepared,” he said. “The University of Florida takes medical education very seriously. As a result, we perform better in a practical sense.”
When his nose isn’t buried in books, it’s up among the clouds. Patel began training for his private pilot’s license in high school and has since flown a handful of times each year. He recalls flying to Orlando without use of the plane’s instrument panel as a lesson in skill application.
It’s this same combination of instinct and knowledge that Patel brings to his study of medicine. He calls his last four years at the UF College of Medicine a transformative experience.
“Medical school has a humbling effect. I started out with a lot more gas in my tank, and I ended up with gray hair,” he said. “I have been prepared tremendously, though, and living in Gainesville has been a magical four years. I’m sure I will miss it dearly when I move to Texas in a few short weeks.”