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Dr Gregory Marra: Excellence Beacon at UAG
By: UAG School of Medicine
25/Oct/2023
UAG
In the world of healthcare and medicine, the journey from student to accomplished professional is often marked by dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning. One remarkable individual who embodies these qualities is Dr. Gregory Marra, a proud alumnus of the UAG School of Medicine (UAG). Dr. Marra recently graced the UAG School of Medicine's "Let's Make Doctors" Pre-Med Advisor Conference in Guadalajara as a guest speaker, sharing his journey from his time at UAG to his current role as a respected medical practitioner.

In an exclusive interview, Dr. Marra recounted his remarkable journey. Dr. Marra's path began at UAG, where he completed his medical education. He reminisces, "I started at UAG, doing my first two years at the ICB Campus, and then for my last two years, I was at Hospital Angel Leaño. From there, at that time, UAG had a pre-internship program at New York Medical College, and I completed one year there." It was during this time that his journey truly began to take shape.
Upon completing his pre-internship, Dr. Marra entered the world of residency training. He describes, "I started my family medicine residency at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center, now called Mohawk Valley Health System, in Utica, New York, where I'm originally from." After this pivotal phase of his education, Dr. Marra continued his medical career in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York. Today, he practices outpatient medicine in a town called Hamburg and serves as a hospitalist physician with Buffalo Medical Group.
When asked about the experiences and opportunities at UAG that had the most significant impact on his career development, Dr. Marra highlighted the clinical years he spent in Guadalajara.
"I had the opportunity to do things that a 3rd and 4th-year medical student in the U.S. would not be able to do," he recalls. He shared a remarkable story from his time at UAG where he actively participated in a surgical procedure, assisting the surgeon. "I was his assistant; I was given a medical surgery drill bit, and I was helping him realign the patient's fingers from the accident."
Dr. Marra emphasized that such hands-on experiences were invaluable and far beyond what a typical U.S. medical student would encounter.
UAG
Dr. Marra's UAG education also shaped his approach to healthcare and patient interaction. "Here you learn more about the Mexican culture, the Latin culture," he notes. This exposure was particularly meaningful, given the diverse population he now serves in the northeast United States. It taught him not only about customs and culture but also how to effectively communicate clinical information to patients in a manner that resonates with them. Additionally, his UAG education provided him with a strong foundation in medical skills, giving him an advantage when starting his residency. "I had learned a lot of the stuff at UAG that my co-residents were learning for the first time," he says.
 
Dr. Marra's advice to current and aspiring UAG students pursuing careers in medicine or healthcare is a testament to his own success. He emphasizes the importance of hard work, networking, and being open to opportunities.
"The key is to work hard, it's okay to have fun, but keep it homed in a little bit, make yourself known to people, introduce yourself, always be friendly and charming, and whenever somebody asks if you want to do something, always say yes!" he advises.
Reflecting on his time at UAG, Dr. Marra shares a memorable experience from one of his surgery rotations. "I was back in Michoacan again for the surgery rotation, doing a 36-hour shift. Around 3 AM, a 16-year-old came in for appendicitis and needed surgery. It was myself and the surgeon, and at 3 AM, I was his first assist, pulling everything open so he could take out the patient's appendix while the song "Africa," by Toto played on the radio in the background, I’ll never forget that" he reminisces. It's these moments that define a medical career, where dedication and training come together to make a real difference in people's lives.

In reflecting on the ways in which UAG stands out in preparing students for success in the healthcare field, Dr. Marra underlines the university's unique emphasis on cultural exposure and interaction. "You get the experience on how to speak to and interact with this community, especially for non-Hispanic origin students. You have a more holistic approach to dealing with people of other ethnicities, specifically the Hispanic culture," he says.

Dr. Marra also holds a special place in his heart for Guadalajara and its culture. When asked about his favorite memory or spot in the city, he recalls the camaraderie and joy of spending time with friends and classmates. "Going to restaurants and having some tacos, arrachera, or something like that, that stands out the most in my mind. Plus, the people here are very friendly, very nice, and a lot of times they bend over backward for you too," he shares.

Dr. Gregory Marra's journey from UAG to his successful career in medicine is a testament to the transformative power of education and the profound impact of cultural exposure. His story embodies the core values of dedication, hard work, and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of patients. As he continues to excel in his field, he remains a source of inspiration to all aspiring medical professionals, proving that the journey from student to successful practitioner is a remarkable one, filled with unforgettable experiences and a deep appreciation for the art of healing.
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