Meet MD/MPH Student Vincent Pepe

Why did you choose Jefferson? 
I chose to attend Jefferson because of the outstanding health care that the network provides. Growing up in the Philadelphia area, I have always associated Jefferson with excellence. Whenever a family member was seriously ill, they were frequently brought to Jefferson, and while there they were consistently treated with the utmost respect and the highest quality care. As a medical school applicant, I wanted to train under the best and brightest, knowing that such an environment will inform the quality of clinician I become. Additionally, Sidney Kimmel Medical College and Jefferson’s College of Population Health have always shown a strong commitment to community service and tackling the health disparities throughout Philadelphia, which is a personal career interest of mine. As such, the decision to choose Jefferson was quite simple.

Where are you from originally? 
I grew up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, but my family is from Philadelphia.

What is the best part of your studies? 
SKMC – My favorite experience was the medical Spanish course, which I took as a student in my first year and taught as a course instructor in my second year. Through the course, I had the opportunity to design the 11-session curriculum and lead a class of 25 first-year medical students as they honed their Spanish for the clinical setting. I have a BA in Spanish, so I loved sharing my passion for the material and getting to know my students.

JCPH – Within the MPH program, my favorite experience has been the Erasmus exchange program with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome, Italy. I am currently taking part in a 3-month internship under Dr. Stephania Boccia at the University's Institute of Hygiene and Public Health. The program has just begun, but I am excited to bolster my quantitative public health research skills, learn Italian, and get to know the city.

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?
I used to row during high school. I rowed for two years at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, I was fairly talented at the time, and I would love to join a boathouse on the Schuylkill River as an attending.

Tell us about a project you’re working on or an award you’ve recently received:    I recently received the Jonathan Lax Scholarship, which is a merit scholarship given to gay men from the Philadelphia area who are in college or graduate school and who contribute to society and the LGBTQ+ community, are open about their sexual orientation, and act as role models for other gay men.

I am also grateful to be the recipient of the Gonnella Scholarship. Named in honor of Dr. Joseph S. Gonnella, the scholarship helps to support the advancement of public health training for future physicians.

My capstone is a qualitative study to identify the attitudes and beliefs of middle-aged sexual minority (LGB) adults regarding cardiovascular health. Under Dr. Billy Caceres at the Columbia University School of Nursing, my directed content analysis from this study will inform the design of LGB-specific cardiovascular risk reduction interventions.

Pictured: Vince Pepe and his mother, Loraine Hopkins Pepe, PhD, RN, NPD-BC, CCRN-K, Director, Nursing Education and Professional Development, Einstein Healthcare Network.