Director of Communications
Institute for Biomedical Sciences
Georgia State University
Kristina Andrade, a graduate of the Biomedical Science and Enterprise bachelor’s degree program in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Honors College student and an aspiring doctor, pursued practical experience in the medical field in the United States and Honduras during her years at Georgia State, while leading several health and science student organizations.
By LaTina Emerson
An aspiring doctor, Kristina Andrade wanted to gain valuable, practical experience in the medical field during her undergraduate studies, so she secured a job as a medical assistant at a women’s health care facility in the metro Atlanta area and also traveled abroad to Honduras to help set up medical clinics.
The New York City native, now a graduate of the Biomedical Science and Enterprise bachelor’s degree program in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Honors College, wants to become a physician and eventually open her own practice.
“My main goal is to improve the outcomes for those constantly overlooked in the health care system by taking care of them directly,” Andrade said.
As a member of Global Brigades, she spent a week volunteering in different communities in Honduras in May 2019.
“We were able to provide healthcare to communities without it by setting up clinics and training members of the community to be able to run them once we left,” Andrade said.
The group also built a water system in a community that didn’t have nearby water and constructed sanitation stations in the homes of families that were assigned to them.
Eager to gain clinical experience, Andrade applied for a job at Innovative Women’s HealthCare Solutions in Smyrna, Ga. She plans to continue working there until she applies to medical school next year. Her duties are both administrative and clinical.
In the front office, she’s responsible for checking in patients, scheduling appointments, verifying eligibility and benefits and other duties. In the back office, she escorts patients to their rooms, obtains vital signs and chief complaints, orders blood work and imaging, prepares specimens for the laboratory and more.
“I am responsible for supporting all the needs of the providers at our office,” Andrade said. “As I hope to open my own practice one day, this experience has shown me the ins and outs of managing a medical practice. I learn so much every day. Medical students rotate through our practice also, so it’s a great place to be while you’re trying to apply to medical school.”
During her studies at Georgia State, Andrade also became a member of Physician and Undergraduate Student Educational Partnerships, which allowed her to shadow various medical professionals. She joined the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, an organization that provides opportunities to minorities pursuing careers in health care. She also attended conferences at Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine, and she thrived as a student leader, serving as president of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society (Tri-Beta) from 2019-20.
To acquire knowledge of the research side of health care, Andrade worked as a research assistant in the Individual Differences and Developmental Psychopathology lab at Georgia State, where she observed prosocial behaviors in children weekly and assisted the principal investigator and graduate students with their research.
The road to achieving her dreams hasn’t been easy. Virtual learning during the pandemic was challenging for Andrade because she typically benefits from engaging with classmates and faculty in person.
As she was preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) exam, she was involved in a car accident in September 2020. Her injuries required medical attention, and she had to go back home to New York for a few months so she could receive in-network medical care. She became extremely discouraged, but one of her mentors advised her to apply to medical school next year. She is determined to meet her goal despite the setback.
Andrade chose to travel nearly 900 miles to attend Georgia State because it was important for her to be in a place that had opportunities for growth. She tried several majors before finding one that she was genuinely interested in and satisfied the prerequisites for medical school.
“My final change to Biomedical Science and Enterprise was exactly what I needed,” Andrade said. “I’ve benefitted from smaller class sizes, unique courses and getting a head start on learning about business. I learned how to read academic writing. I believe that the major also had a large focus on career readiness. After taking the careers class, I had everything I needed to know to pursue opportunities in this field.”