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Honors student Daniel Boaretto is bound for medical school at 20 years old

Honors student Daniel Boaretto is bound for medical school at 20 years old

As part of a Profiles in Excellence series, FIU News shares the Real Triumphs of FIU students and faculty.

March 7, 2022 at 3:06pm

In 11 years, the United States is projected to be short between 54,000 to 139,000 physicians as the country’s population gets older and demand outpaces supply, according to an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) study. 

Fortunately, there are highly motivated young people who are ready to meet the demand. 

Senior Daniel Boaretto was recently admitted to the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at the age of 20 years old. An Honors College student who in his spare time volunteers at homeless shelters and raises money for Relay for Life, Boaretto is set to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology at FIU this spring. 

The Miami native has the drive to help others, specifically through health care. 

“You can help people in a large variety of ways. What stands out about being a physician to me is that the patient-physician relationship focuses on medicine. What the physician does is inform the patient of what is going on and the decisions they can make. A physician is an educator, and I love being involved in education,” Boaretto says. 

Boaretto began taking classes at FIU when he was 14 years old. He was a “triple enrolled” student in his teenage years, taking classes at the university, Miami-Dade College and his public high school.  

“I had the opportunity to take an anatomy class at FIU, and I think that really was the first thing that opened my eyes to my fascination for biological sciences,” Boaretto says. 

Today, Boaretto is completing his bachelor's while living at his family's house across the street from campus. The senior has participated in antibiotic research at FIU and he serves on Relay for Life’s executive board. In his spare time, he volunteers at Lotus House and Miami Rescue Mission, where he helps children experiencing homelessness with homework and math and reading assignments.  

“Daniel was an excellent student in my class. He earned As and had a positive attitude. Then he decided to return and volunteer as a student mentor,” says Barbra Roller, associate professor of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology. She teaches the Honors Course, ‘Challenges in Healthcare.’ 

Roller says that students like Boaretto who are well-rounded and caring have been in increasingly higher demand. In 2015, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) began evaluating students’ knowledge about sociology and psychology in a new section. The FIU professor adds that she is currently helping the AAMC to develop a “situational judgment test” to test students’ social skills. 

“What [colleges] want to do is continually produce physicians who care about their patients and not just the disease, abnormality or pain they have,” Roller says. 

A first-generation college student, Boaretto is fired up and ready to contribute to the field of medicine in a time when healthcare needs help. 

Boaretto’s quest is set to begin close to home. Among the people, he'll already know on campus: his mom, who works at Café Bustelo.

“A future doctor in the family,” Boaretto says. “She is super happy.”