Student Profile: Sarah Ann Anderson

I am a 27 year old MD/PhD student entering my 7th year in the program. I recently completed my PhD studies in the lab of Yasmin Hurd, PhD investigating the neurobiological interface of heroin addiction with negative mood disorders.

I was born and raised in New York City until the age of 10 and my family relocated to Salem, Oregon where I graduated with the International Baccalaureate degree from South Salem High School. For my undergraduate studies, I went to Xavier University of Louisiana, which is currently ranked first in the nation for the highest number of African American graduates pursuing an MD. At Xavier I was part of the NIH funded Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, which compelled my interest in the physician-scientist track. After graduating summa cum laude from Xavier, I entered the Mount Sinai PREP program for one year. Following this I began Icahn School of Medicine's MD/PhD program in 2007.

Throughout my time at Icahn, I have served as a Senior Teaching Assistant for the Gross Anatomy course, been a leader of the Hepatitis C Support Group, served on the Students for Equal Opportunities in Medicine (SEOM) executive board and served three consecutive years on the national executive board for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). In addition, I am an adjunct instructor for City College of New York's Sophie Davis BS/MD program, an instructor for ExamKrackers, Inc. and a New York Academy of Sciences Teaching Fellow. I have received the following awards: UNCF/Merck Graduate Fellowship, Life Members Mentorship Grant Recipient from the Academy of Adolescent and Child Psychiatry, SNMA Research Fellowship and National Institute of Drug Abuse Directors Travel Fellowship.

What is the most exciting part of being a student at Mount Sinai and in New York City?

  • It has been absolutely thrilling to be at Sinai at a time when it continues to expand and grow into a research and medical powerhouse. Despite this exponential growth Sinai, students have not lost their autonomy and we continue to be a driving force behind much of the innovative strategies used in the classroom and healthcare. New York City in my opinion is the greatest city in the world and being here affords students the opportunity to pursue any passion that they desire. Although Sinai is not directly linked to an undergraduate institution, the school has a strong network that allows for us to teach at the undergraduate and graduate level. Furthermore, the arts in all forms abound throughout the city and we are never at a lack of entertainment and cultural enrichment opportunities.

What were some of the factors that led you to choose Icahn for medical/graduate school?

  • My interview at Icahn was my favorite because the faculty took time to get to know me and the students conveyed a strong sense of happiness and empathy. This was not evident at other institutions and I knew immediately that this school was a unique and ideal place for me to learn and develop.

Describe briefly how you have been welcomed into the Icahn community (e.g., programs, people, etc.), who have been especially helpful in your acclimation.

  • The PREP program and the leadership of the program have been essential to my acclimation to Icahn. They ensured that we were employed with the appropriate strategies to succeed here and beyond. After entering the MD/PhD program the Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs has been critical and has ensured my success by providing financial, professional and emotional support.

If you are currently involved in any initiatives promoting diversity please list them and briefly describe your involvement.

  • I have been a member of the executive board of the Students for Equal Opportunities in Medicine, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs student Ambassador

Quick Facts

Salem, Oregon

Current Program:
MD/PhD – 7th Year

Research Lab:
Hurd Laboratory

My Research Focus:
Neurobiological interface of heroin addiction with negative mood disorders

Undergraduate Degree:
Summa Cum Laude
Xavier University of Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana

My Involvement in Diversity Initiatives
Executive board member, Students for Equal Opportunities in Medicine
Student Ambassador, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs