Channeling resilience and passion toward a vision for the future

Between her third and fourth years at the Perelman School of Medicine, Fulbright Scholar Zonía Moore worked out of Hospital Manuel Gea González in Mexico City.

At the outset of Zonía Moore’s application process for the prestigious Fulbright scholarship program, her father Gordon Moore suddenly died from a heart attack on the eve of a decisive step in her interviews.

It wasn’t the only hardship to hit amid Moore’s pursuit of one of the most significant projects of her academic life, taken in between her third and fourth years of medical school at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM). Over 10 months last year, she worked out of Hospital Manuel Gea González in Mexico City, conducting research on a number of skin conditions including melasma, eczema, and vitiligo to determine how the hospital treated their dermatology outpatients and tailored treatments for skin of color. 

Penn Med Fulbright Scholar Zonia Moore

Moore’s experience is a perfect example of how PSOM students are regularly pushed to think beyond their sphere of immediate experience. They are encouraged to think beyond the bedside, to see not only the patients in the clinic, but those who can’t afford a doctor’s visit. They are called to fill gaps in access for underserved and under-represented people and communities, across the country and the world.  

This often involves creative problem solving, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and a determination to channel their abilities to their fullest use.  

“The Fulbright Scholarship gave me the ability to take a bit of a break from my med school studies, and to process my grief while focusing on work I feel really passionate about,” Moore explains. “I think part of it was also trying not to throw away all the opportunities that I’d worked so hard to get, and that my father had been so supportive toward.” 

This story is by Jonathan B. Waller. Read more at the Penn Medicine News blog.