Many fourth-graders have a dream profession and it often doesn’t pan out. Firefighter, star athlete and astronaut are common. Andrew Frankart dreamed of becoming a physician, but the difference is the fourth-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine is now within reach of his goal.
Frankart, 25, born in Cincinnati and raised in Lima, Ohio, will be among the 148 students who will receive medical degrees during Honors Day activities, May 19, 2018, at the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. For Frankart the journey to UC has been marked with scholarship and research, excellent mentors and lasting memories.
"I have been blessed to have a continuous stream of great experiences throughout,” says Frankart. "There are too many to say in one setting. If I had to draw out one common thread that links them all together it would be the outstanding kindness and support I have received from so many people during my undergraduate years and in medical school.”
Frankart entered UC as an undergraduate with a perfect score on the ACT and as a National Merit Finalist. He completed his bachelor’s degree in biology and received a full Presidential scholarship in the Cincinnatus Scholarship Program.
He was attracted to UC and enrolled because of the Connections Program, which allows students to apply to both a UC undergraduate degree program and MD program in the College of Medicine simultaneously.
"I chose UC because I knew there was a very strong medical program and that’s where I ultimately saw myself going,” says Frankart. "I also recognized that there were great research opportunities here and that had been an interest of mine prior to coming to UC.”
As an undergraduate, Frankart joined the UC student service organization, What’s in a Doctor’s Bag, which provides entertaining medical education to children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds designed to encourage regular health checkups. His interest in outreach to underserved populations continued in medical school when Frankart was co-director of the Urban Health Project long with fellow medical student, Jessica Hwang.
The Urban Health Project is a nonprofit, medical student-run organization that places students who have finished their first year of medical school in summer internships with medical and social service agencies in Greater Cincinnati.
"Our role was to manage the group of interns that we had that summer and insure our relationships with our community partners were continuing to be fruitful,” says Frankart. "Throughout the academic year we also sought grant funding to support the project. I really enjoyed that experience. It allowed me to better understand the needs of underserved populations though interacting with our community partners. It will equip me to better serve my patients in the future.”
During his third-year clinical rotations, Frankart got the chance to work with Jordan Kharofa, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology. He long had an interest in cancer as a specialty after a family member died from the disease. Frankart was introduced to an area of cancer treatment known as brachytherapy, which involves the placement of radiation sources in the body and is often used in several types of cancer.
The experience led to a research project with Kharofa, Teresa Meier, MD, and Thomas Minges and convinced Frankart to train in radiation oncology. He will spend four years of residency at UC in radiation oncology after one year of general medicine training at Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio.
"I am thrilled to be doing my residency here at UC as well,” says Frankart. "One thing that really struck me about our department is the combination of excellent clinical care and genuine compassion and kindness for patients that everyone in the department demonstrates. That approach starts with the chair, Dr. William Barrett, and extends throughout the entire Cancer Institute. I think it will be a great environment in which to train and I couldn’t be happier to remain at UC.”
Frankart, who was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society this year, offers some advice to the crop of new medical students who will enter UC in August.
"I’ve learned to never take for granted the opportunities you are given as a medical student,” says Frankart. "Being a medical student is no doubt a grueling experience but I found that, from every difficult class or rotation, there is something you can take from it that will directly impact your ability to take care of your patients in the future. Keeping that in mind throughout the difficult experiences is really helpful.”
Abbigail Tissot, PhD, assistant dean of admissions in the UC College of Medicine, says Frankart truly embodies the values of the ‘Cincinnati Medicine’ family.
"Andrew is hard-working, compassionate, and truly brilliant,” says Tissot. "It did not surprise us that he’d pursue a specialty area that applied all of those talents to benefit the human condition at its most fragile moments.”
"We are so proud to have been a part of Andrew’s journey from Bearcat to MedCat and beyond. His many successes are a reminder to all that being academically successful and a truly exceptional humanist absolutely can go hand-in-hand and, in fact, they should,” says Tissot. "Andrew’s combination of gifts will benefit patients in a way that will advance the field and inspire future generations to serve others through clinical medicine.”