Siri Yalamanchili remembers when she was 12 years old and her mother had LASIK surgery. Her father was so inspired by the procedure that he came home and enthusiastically advocated ophthalmology as a career for young Siri.
At that time, Yalamanchili hadn’t even considered medicine, let alone a certain specialty.
“I had no idea what ophthalmology was, or even how to pronounce the word! I just kind of brushed it off,” she says.
A change in mindset
Now, as a rising fourth-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine student, Yalamanchili is working towards what will soon be a career in ophthalmology. Funny how things work out, right?
As she entered medical school, Yalamanchili remembered her 12-year-old experience and was curious to explore the field for herself. As she shadowed different specialties and completed the College of Medicine’s third-year clerkships, she repeatedly gravitated back to ophthalmology.
An internship between her first and second years of medical school was the first major turning point in finding her passion and love for ophthalmology.
“That summer, I was first able to through the slit lamp, an instrument used to take a closer look at patients’ eyes. Looking at the iris with such precision through the slit lamp was just amazing. I fell in love with ophthalmology after that. The amount of pathology and detail that you can see through such a small part of the body is incredible. I was really inspired by all of it,” says Yalamanchili.
Through shadowing and working on research projects with several mentors, including Sergul Erzurum, M.D. (‘88), a NEOMED professor of surgery, Yalamanchili saw the potential in ophthalmology.
“I’ve consistently seen such strong relationships between my mentors and their patients. I really appreciate that they are able to hold those long-term relationships and make such a meaningful difference in their lives,” she says.
Toward the future
When asked what her ideal career would be, the rising fourth-year student summed it up:
“I would really like to be able to have a career where I can incorporate community-based care, global opportunities, teaching residents and medical students, and just being as involved as I can to learn as much as I can – because I’m always going to be learning as a future ophthalmologist. I want to provide meaningful care to all of my patients.”