Release Date: August 3, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. – First-year medical students often hear that finding a study partner can be helpful in getting through the rigorous curriculum. This week, several first-year students at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo are starting off with a “study buddy” they’ve known all their lives. Three pairs of twins — plus another pair of siblings — are among the 184 students in the Jacobs School’s Class of 2027.
“As far as I know, this happy coincidence is totally unprecedented,” says Dori R. Marshall, MD, associate dean and director of medical admissions in the Jacobs School and a physician with UBMD Psychiatry. “We are delighted that these high-achieving siblings have decided that the Jacobs School is the best place for them to pursue — together — their dreams of becoming physicians.”
As twins, Chidalu and Chidera Anameze, who graduated from UB in May, have been approaching school as a team ever since they can remember. So tackling medical school together just makes sense.
“We work together almost all the time,” says Chidalu. “We took every single class at UB together and we’re going to do medical school together. It’s just easier for us: We are better together!”
The sisters have been focused on careers in health care since high school, when they participated in a BOCES program that allowed them to do rotations shadowing different types of physicians in fields as diverse as medical ethics, anatomy, chronic disease and nutrition.
They chose UB for their undergraduate degrees because it was a good distance from where they live near Albany (not too close and not far), it is affordable and it’s big.
“We fell in love with UB the second we stepped onto campus,” says Chidalu. “We liked how big it was, since we came from a big high school, and it’s like Albany, kind of the same weather. It reminded us of home.”
They call the North Campus lecture halls of the Natural Sciences Complex “beautiful,” and it certainly didn’t hurt that UB had a medical school.
Applying through UB’s Early Assurance program, they found out they were accepted to the Jacobs School in their sophomore year. As undergraduates in the UB Experiential Learning Network, they conducted research on maternal and infant health under Xiaozhong Wen, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School, in the Department of Pediatrics’ Behavioral Medicine Laboratory.
Both sisters also participated in the Jacobs School’s Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences Undergraduate Program (CLIMB UP), an interdisciplinary, summer research program founded and directed by Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor. That’s where they met Camryn and Marisa Warren, a second set of twins, who graduated from Canisius University andwho also participated in the Early Assurance program and are now their classmates at the Jacobs School.
“I am grateful UB gave us the opportunity to create our journey in medicine together, especially in the community that has raised and made us the people we are today,” says Marisa. “We are a team and we are excited to take on this new challenge as a team.”
And her sister isn’t the only Jacobs School student she knows. Marisa served as treasurer of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students at Canisius (Camryn was president) along with Hannah Iqbal, who was vice president. Hannah and her twin brother, Josef, are the third twin set in the Class of 2027; they, too, graduated from Canisius and Josef was head of its Society for Pre-health Professionals.
“We both have always known we wanted to become physicians and couldn’t have dreamed of a better place than UB to continue our journey right at home,” says Hannah.
Eric and Stephen Dhillon, brothers and graduates of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, are also members of the Class of 2027.
They always knew they wanted to study medicine but Stephen, the older brother, needed to take a few years to pursue his other passion: professional hockey. After stints with hockey leagues in the U.S. and Canada, including a National Hockey League training camp, he was ready to pursue his medical education at the same time that his younger brother was also applying. They were pleased to find out they would be in the same class in the same school.