May 11, 2023 by Janet L. Essman Franz
As a child in Ethiopia, Lud Eyasu admired how her father, a physician, and mother, a nurse, took care of people in the community. From a young age, she set her sights on becoming a doctor. She fondly remembers after-school hours in her father’s practice where she would, “hang out in the clinic,” she said. “Long before I knew what a doctor was, I knew I wanted a white coat.”
At age seven, Eyasu’s family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her father works as an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control. Her mother is a nurse at Emory University Hospital. In college at Emory, Eyasu took an untraditional path to medicine. “I needed to find my passion. I realized I’m not a strictly science person, I’m more of a humanities person,” she said. “I chose to study religion and ethics, with full intention of being a doctor.”
Eyasu attended one year of medical school in Ethiopia, hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps. “As a general practitioner in an underserved community, he did surgical interventions and treated any case that came by, because he was the only doctor in a huge radius. I wanted to go back to Ethiopia and do that,” she said. “I had a very fulfilling experience,” but “Ethiopia was at the start of political unrest … it was dangerous. For the sake of my parents, I came back. …After that experience, I was even more determined” to become a doctor.
Attending Larner College of Medicine was an easy choice: “It was the people, how they catered to me at my interview, they were so kind and humble, and they wanted me to see what was great about LCOM,” she recalled.
At UVM, Eyasu participated on the Medical Student Council as community service chair. She was president of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a community of students selected by their peers for their leadership and dedication to service. She also served on LCOM Cares Service Corps, which facilitates volunteer opportunities between Larner students, faculty, and staff, UVM Medical Center, and the surrounding community. Her fellow classmates named an award in her honor, the Lud Eyasu Community Service Award, to support future medical students seeking to address local, unmet needs.
“I can’t imagine having done my medical education anywhere else,” Eyasu said. “I made friends that I will call at least once a week for my lifetime. I feel so grateful to have had this experience.”
After commencement, Lud will do residency in general surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. “I chose surgery because it’s as intimate as medicine gets. There’s a certain level of trust when a patient hands their life over to you. I want to be the best doctor I can be,” she said. “It was my father’s calling, and I have that calling, too.”
Eyasu’s older brother also is a physician, and her younger brother plans to attend medical school. “I hope he comes to LCOM,” she said.
Link to a video of the Larner 2023 Match Day highlights.