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Twins share medical passion

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Twins share medical passion

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It has been said that twins, whether identical or fraternal, experience life in tandem. Perhaps that stems from being together from birth and developing at key stages together.
For 23-year-old fraternal twins and medical students Karla and Kristine Callender, they have been leading parallel lives. Their joint decision to become doctors was something they wanted since childhood.
“Our mother told us that was what we told her when we were four and a half,” Karla said.
“She said that we used to play with teddy bears and play doctor. But we remember at age nine watching certain programmes like Medical Mystery and loving it.”
Unlike some children who change their minds about career paths over time, Karla and Kristine never wavered in their resolve to pursue medicine. What did change was where they decided to study. Having attained undergraduate degrees in biochemistry from the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Cave Hill, the twins opted to go to American University of Barbados for medical school.
“For our programme we have five semesters here in Barbados and then we leave to do clinical rotations in the US,” said Kristine.
Actually, it was the opportunity to go to the United States to pursue medicine was what attracted the girls to American University.
Karla wants to be an orthopaedic surgeon and Kristine wants to do plastic surgery.
“It’s really good experience there and we get to interact with international students. There are some Barbadian students, but for the most part it’s international students and international lecturers,” said Karla. “We opted to go to America because of the opportunity to go to the states and do our clinicals there. It was for the international exposure and the chance to go and study abroad.”
Karla and Kristine are in thesecond of their five semesters at American and managing the workload quite well.
Both girls had applied to UWI’s medical school, but when they heard that American University was opening here, they jumped at the chance to go and study there instead.
“After the five semesters, medical students are placed at different hospitals that the university is affiliated with,” Karla said.
While both young women are unsure whether they’ll return to Barbados beyond their clinical training, they are happy with the education they received at UWI and at American University.
“It’s just always been a dream that we had to go to the States to study medicine,” Karla said.