Three from Cumberland graduate med school

Three from Cumberland graduate med school

CUMBERLAND – With their new medical degrees in hand, three Cumberland natives and childhood acquaintances are heading to different hospitals on the East Coast to start their residency programs this month.

“I don’t think it’s too common,” Margie Thorsen, who graduated from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University on May 26, told The Valley Breeze. “It’s definitely exciting.”

“Maybe there’s something in the water,” said Austin Tam, who also graduated from Brown’s medical school last weekend.

More sincerely, he credited the families who “encouraged their children to do the best and really fight for their dreams. The end product is we’ll have three new doctors out in the field.”

This month, Tam will be a resident in emergency medicine at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg in Pennsylvania and Thorsen will do her residency at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence in obstetrics and gynecology.

Also from Cumberland, Molly Clarke graduated from the Frank H. Netter M.D. School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University on May 10, and will start her residency in pediatrics at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Thorsen, daughter of Jim and Cindy Thorsen of Cumberland, and Tam, son of Rebecca Tam of Cumberland, attended elementary school together and reunited at Brown. Clarke, daughter of Christine and Robert Clarke of Cumberland, is friends with Thorsen’s older sister, she said.

Tam and Thorsen both credited their moms with sparking their interest in medicine.

Thorsen said she was very inspired by her mother who works as a NICU nurse at Women and Infants. The two will work together when Thorsen starts her residency, she said.

Tam’s mother is a registered nurse at Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket where Tam volunteered during his undergraduate years. “She got me interested in the medical field,” he said.

Clarke said there were no doctors in her family. “I didn’t know what the medical field was like,” she said. “In high school I knew I wanted to work with kids somehow.”

After attending Cumberland public schools through 6th grade, Thorsen went to Lasalle Academy and graduated in 2011.

Enrolled in an eight-year program in liberal medical education at Brown, she graduated with a degree in public health in 2015.

For the past seven years, Thorsen has been a tutor with the Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment program and has coached track at both Wheeler High School and LaSalle.

In addition to her mom, Thorsen said she had several experiences as a patient that also inspired her path to pursue a medical degree.

“I found my calling in medicine through being a patient,” she said.

She said she’s happy to continue her training in her home state.

“It’s amazing to be a part of this community and to be staying here and continue to serve patients in Rhode Island as a Rhode Islander,” she said.

Clarke, who grew up on Diamond Hill Road and attended Community School and North Cumberland Middle School, said she has fond memories of the town, where she’s met some of her lifelong friends.

After graduating from Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Mass., in 2009, Clarke attended Boston College where she studied biology with a pre-med concentration and graduated in 2013. She worked for a year at Boston Children’s Hospital and another year at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center doing clinical research before starting medical school, she said.

In addition to running cross-country at NCMS, Clarke said she’s grateful for all the athletic opportunities Cumberland offered her. She also sailed at BC.

“Athletics was important to my academic success,” she said.

In April, Clarke completed her first Boston Marathon and raised money for the Scholar Athletes organization.

A 2011 Cumberland High School graduate, Tam, who was an Eagle Scout in Troop 1 Diamond Hill, attended Brown University and received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 2015.

In addition to receiving his medical degree, he received a master’s of science degree in population medicine.

Growing up, Tam loved watching the Discovery Channel and health shows, which got him interested in science and the body. “One of my favorite shows was ‘House,’” he said.

He said his career goal is to help teach residents and medical students and would love to return to Rhode Island and take over as the program director of the emergency medicine residency.

As he heads to Pennsylvania, what he’ll miss most about being in Rhode Island is “being able to drive anywhere in the state within about an hour.”