Awarded a soccer scholarship to study at SUNY Albany, Tunc “blew out his knee in junior year” and decided to change career paths. Late to the game, he began his pre-med coursework senior year and took summer school after graduation to finish his requirements.
“My grades were only ok, but I did well on the MCAT. Once I realized I wouldn’t get into a U.S. med school I did my research and Saba looked good to me. I wanted a smaller school, and I liked the fact that the island had minimal distractions that wouldn’t pull me away from studying. This quiet environment enabled me to really study and get good grades.”
His clinical rotations were mostly in New York (“my hometown”) at Lincoln Medical Center, a full service acute care hospital in NYC and one of the premier trauma centers in the country. He pursued his passion for surgery, working late, writing papers with the doctors and doing whatever it took to impress those he worked for at the hospital.
“The doctors at Lincoln were incredible when it came time for my residency and thanks to how they pushed for me, I matched into a categorical surgery residency position at Our Lady of Mercy/ Einstein Montefiore Medical Center, another hospital in the Einstein network in NYC. That year they only took 3 for residency spots (out of 180 or so applications) so I was really excited.”
During his residency years Tunc was named Chief Resident, the single largest investment in leadership made by a Department of Surgery at a hospital. Chief residents are selected for their exceptional clinical and leadership skills. His last year as a resident he won the teaching award. A one year fellowship in minimally invasive and robotic surgery at New York Medical College followed, and gave him exposure to bariatric surgery. “Once I started doing bariatric surgery and saw how it could completely transform someone’s life I realized I had to do this work.
Dr. Tunc Aksehirli has built the Metabolic and Bariatric Institute practice at Jefferson Hospital in Pittsburgh, and still takes great pride in the transformative nature of the bariatric surgery that he performs. “It can change a life physically, emotionally and socially. I really like seeing this happen every day.”
For those looking at Saba he offers this… “Saba is an elite school that gives you a second chance, and enables you to get to where you want to go. Take advantage of it. I certainly did.”
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