A period of political unrest prompted Charles and his family to move to the U.S., relocating in the Fort Lauderdale area, where he continued learning about the topics that fascinated him — chemistry, physics and math — by completing an associate’s degree in pharmacy, followed by a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology at Barry University. He then completed an internship in nuclear medicine technology in a pharmacy at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. His colleagues there noticed his talent in research and passion for health care and encouraged him to apply to medical school.
After earning his undergraduate degree in nuclear medicine technology from Barry University, Charles said choosing to attend medical school at UF was largely guided by one of the first interactions he had with a faculty member: James Lynch, M.D., assistant dean of admissions.
“I saw Dr. Lynch talking with a patient and treating that patient like an equal,” Charles said. “Even in a situation where he didn’t agree with the patient, he found common ground and respected him. I thought, ‘This is the model of a physician I want to be.’”
Charles found great success as a medical student at UF, collaborating with anesthesiology professors Bruce Spiess, M.D., and Chris Giordano, M.D., on groundbreaking research regarding the chemical structure of a form of vitamin B-12. In 2018, Charles was awarded the J.S. Gravenstein Award, given annually to an outstanding College of Medicine graduate who intends to pursue anesthesiology.
Charles will move across the country in July to begin a cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellowship at Stanford University, researching blood transfusions and combining his medical research interests with artificial intelligence.
“It’s so rewarding to know you’re using your skills to make a difference in the world,” he said. “Training at UF equipped me with the skills to make my dream of moving forward in medicine a reality.”