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Beatriz M. Folch-Torres

Beatriz Folch-Torres Headshot

Affiliation: Alumna
Program: MS, Health Professions Education
Homeland: Puerto Rico
Education: BS, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus (Biology); MD Candidate, University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry

Trained as a dancer since the age of six, Beatriz M. Folch-Torres led classical ballet classes in high school and then as an undergraduate at the University of Puerto Rico, her native country, to help pay for pointe shoes. She was going through a couple pairs a week, and they were expensive.

“That was the first time I had to think about how I would teach,” she says. “It made me think about education in a different way. How would I transmit my knowledge to a group of students who had never experienced something before?”

With an interest in medical education, Folch-Torres earned her MS in health professions education, an academic program developed by the Warner School of Education, the School of Nursing, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry, while on a year-out program from the University’s medical school. After completing her degree, she returned to her third year of medical school in July 2011.

“It was a perfect combination, taking a year to dedicate myself to education, something I’m passionate about, while never leaving medicine out of sight,” she says.

One of only two people who were full-time students, Folch-Torres gained interesting insights from her other classmates, most of whom were faculty members at the University. “I was able to contribute to the discussions in one way, by providing a student’s perspective, but I was also able to learn from the masters,” she explains.

Those masters remain her mentors at the Medical Center, where she lectures to first- and second-year medical students on topics such as introductory pediatrics and maintenance fluids.

Folch-Torres hopes to enter a residency program that offers a teaching track, and then to blend her clinical and teaching expertise as an attending physician at a teaching hospital.

As for her involvement in dance, it no longer involves pointe shoes or five-hour daily rehearsals. “I’ll just go and watch—and enjoy,” she says.

Folch-Torres believes that without Warner, she would’ve had to expend a lot more time and energy developing herself as an educator.

“It was more than I expected,” she says. “Not only what I learned in the program, which I’ve been able to put into practice every day since, but also the connections I was able to make and the relationships I was able to form. It completely prepared me for what’s to come in my medical education, and has been one of the highlights of my graduate education.”