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Jamie Gilroy

CU School of Medicine Class of 2018

(​May 2018) Jamie Gilroy was working as a waitress and mulling a career in public health when she had “one of those lightbulb moments” that started her down the path to medical school.

A graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in biology, Gilroy had held food service jobs since high school and volunteered at a nonprofit deli on campus. The epiphany brought insight into why she always returned to the field: She loved the customers.

Not the ones who screamed at her when she mistakenly brought a side of bacon instead of sausage, but the regulars whose preferences she memorized and who greeted her as a friend, or new customers delighted to be served a cappuccino.

“One day I just realized that I really liked working one-on-one with people,” who took two years off between her undergraduate degree and medical school.

She had long considered medicine a career option. She’d volunteered at a hospital during her undergraduate years, and she remembers encouragement from a family friend who worked hard to persuade her to become a doctor.

“He was an emergency physician and was so incredibly positive about the field. I remember in high school he sat down with me at my parents’ kitchen table and ran through the entire anatomy of the human hand because he thought I’d be a good hand surgeon.”

A native of Philadelphia, Gilroy applied primarily to medical schools on the East Coast. She nearly cancelled her final interview at University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“I had gotten in somewhere else that I liked, but I had a couple of friends who moved here so I decided to go see them. I fell in love with the school. Everyone was so nice, and I felt I had much more in common with people here,” said Gilroy, who adds that the opportunity for good skiing was also a lure.

Soon after arriving, she became involved in the school’s Curriculum Steering Committee because she wanted a voice in decisions being made about her education. “I didn’t entirely know what I was getting myself into but it sounded interesting, and as time went along I had more of an understanding.”

She is involved with the curriculum reform Commitment Committee, where she is researching ways to eliminate student mistreatment and improve the learning environment.

“It’s a really important area because no matter what you do from a hard curriculum standpoint, students need to be able to feel engaged.”

In her third year, Gilroy, enlisted in the Veterans Administration Sequential Training Program, where students participate in psychiatry, neurology, internal medicine and general surgery rotations for six months.

Ultimately she chose to pursue obstetrics-gynecology, her first rotation, after spending her third year comparing it to all the other experiences.

“I thought maybe I just loved being out of the classroom. But I kept coming back to it after every rotation and I knew I didn’t like anything else as much.

The daughter and niece of educators, Gilroy has tutored first-year students during her fourth year and hopes to join academic medicine. She encourages students to avoid stress by learning from her mistakes.

“What I tell people is don’t procrastinate on anything. When I was younger I put things off and would finish papers the night before they were due – the kind of thing that drives your mother nuts,” said Gilroy, 27, who was named to Alpha Omega Alpha and who will serve her residency at University of Colorado Health.

 “You save a lot of time if you keep up with the lecture material. And before the small groups on related topics, it helps if you’ve studied ahead of time. It’s a lot more beneficial and you don’t have to study as much later. The same goes with the third year: Do a little prep the day before a new rotation, and the first day you’ll learn a lot more from the patients because you’re not lost trying to figure out what people are saying.”