headshot of Samuel Wood

Samuel Wood ’19

Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

The path that led me to medicine didn’t begin in a lab or classroom, but in a hospital bed at the age of 17. During high school, I learned that I had systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body mistakes its own tissues for foreign enemies, and seeks to destroy healthy cells. In my case, the disease had become so severe that I was virtually bed-bound. Each morning, I awoke to both hands fused shut by swelling, my face was a mess of blisters and sores, and nearly every joint ached. After two years of futile efforts with oral steroids and chronic ibuprofen, my kidneys began to shut down, and I landed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Here, I experienced my first dose of the power of modern medicine. After a year of chemotherapeutic and immunosuppressive treatments, I entered medicated remission. I got my life back. It was clear I had been given a second chance, and my brush with mortality anchored the understanding that life was too short to waste. At this point in my life, my love was music, so I decided to take a leap of faith and apply to Berklee College of Music. I was accepted, and earned a Bachelor’s of Music with a focus in Production and Engineering. I loved my time in Boston, but during those years, I could not escape the fact that medicine saved my life. After much internal debate, as well as conversations with key mentors, I decided I wanted to become a physician. I was accepted to a 1-year post back program, and fought through the most challenging academic chapter of my life to earn the premedical requirements necessary for medical school. That same year, my dream was realized, and I became a first year medical student at UNE COM.