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Peter Rezkalla, MS3
January 23 2018
by Neel Desai, M.D.

Peter Rezkalla is a third year medical student at New Jersey Medical School (USA) and describes himself as a “human, Christian, son, brother, Disney fanatic, friend, medical student, and ‘YouTuber’.” He has a passion for the arts, more specifically the performing arts, and has always been consumed with its’ relation to science.  As Peter recounts:
“Growing up, I was always captivated by the arts and fascinated with science, but never truly felt either side accepted the other. I succeeded in my academic work with my “smart” friends and then left to choreograph theater work with my “arts” friends. (I use quotation marks because I believe both sides offer ingenuity to the other if they only allow themselves to explore.)”

In medical school, Peter was able to channel his artistic talents into several endeavors. He has developed a highly successful Medical Improv course open to students, residents, nurses and physicians. The course was able to educate people about the value of empathy skills in medicine. Peter had heard many in the medical education community doubt the ability to teach empathic skills, but found through Improv this was definitely not the case. He went on to become his medical school’s official videographer and created a video sharing his fellow classmates’ compelling acceptance stories, worked on AMA Video Challenges for his colleagues, and was a cameraman for a medical documentary produced by Dr. Saray Stancic titled CodeBlue. During this time Peter also chronicled medical student stories in his medical school through a Humans of NJMS Facebook page.

After USMLE Step 1, he had a “reset”, and it allowed him to begin anew in his 3rd year of medical school. This is where he decided to start his YouTube channel: Doctor Disney. Peter recounts why he started his Doctor Disney YouTube Channel:

So, I picked up a dream of mine – almost a summation of my prior activities – and started my YouTube channel – Doctor Disney! Today, I am humbled to use medicine to serve, and arts to entertain – two forms of healing humanity. I really just wanted a platform to simultaneously have a creative outlet, share stories, make people laugh, and create a positive impact on our world. Pretty simple.

He also has been overwhelmed and humbled from the support and encouragement he has received from fellow students:

The response has been overly positive and I want to thank everyone (my fans? weird to say.. weird to write?) for the encouragement and the laughs. It truly makes my day when someone passes me in the hospital or shoots me a text with a ‘HAHAHA DUUUUDE Epic video!’… From my end, I will say that I am still getting used to the hype and the comments, so if I seem awkward, blush up, and/or run out of the elevator on the wrong floor, just know that’s my (current) manifestation of gratitude.

Peter also has some sage advice for our readers and listeners:
Be a person of principle in your place of power. We all ought to challenge ourselves daily, support one another, and heal – because we all have the power to do so.

Peter Rezkalla is clearly more than just a medical student. He is the consummate artist, storyteller, student, and human. His creative use of multiple digital communication platforms is having an impact on his space in medicine. We are honored to recognize Peter Rezkalla as our Medical Influencer of the Week.

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