UCF Charter Class Grad returns to Medical City for employment opportunity


When Elona Rrapo Kaso ’13MD interviewed for a place at UCF’s brand new medical school in 2008, the classrooms weren’t built yet, the program was still in the planning stage, and the program wasn’t even accredited. Medical City was still a dream, but she knew it was the place she wanted to treat patients after completing her training.

Today, she returned to Nona Lake as a Cardiac Imaging Specialist at Orlando VA Medical Center, under the supervision of Chief Cardiology Mark Milunski, a founding member of the College of Medicine’s Program Planning Committee that interviewed as a potential student for 13 years. since.

“As a medical student, I always saw myself coming back one day,” says Rrapo Kaso. “I always thought Medical City would be a great place to work. We often heard Dean (Deborah) German talk about his vision for the Medical City in 10 and 20 years. And that inspired me, so I really wanted to come back to apply my skills and training here in the community.

“I really wanted to come back to apply my skills and training here in the community. “- Elona Rrapo Kaso ’13MD

Born in Albania, Rrapo Kaso knew she wanted to be a doctor and her dream was to study and practice in the United States. Florida, graduated with a BA in Microbiology and Spanish, and graduated summa cum laude with great distinction.

While at USF, she heard about UCF’s new medical school and the full four-year scholarships offered to each member of the charter class. She was one of more than 4,000 applicants who applied for 40 places.

UCF was the first medical school in U.S. history to offer full scholarships to an entire class, thanks to more than $ 6.5 million in community donations. The medical school raised so much money that they were able to add another student, making 41 in the first class. Rrapo Kaso’s scholarship was sponsored by the Tavistock Group, which imagined and ran Medical City and also donated $ 12.5 million and 50 acres of land to UCF to help establish the medical school.

“I was amazed at the opportunity I saw on my first visit to UCF,” she says. “Even though this was a brand new program, all of the professors were experts in their field with a vision to create a new program that was better than what they had seen before. I was also impressed with the plans for the state-of-the-art facilities and it gave me confidence that this was the place I wanted to study.

Milunski, now a volunteer faculty member at the Faculty of Medicine, was part of the admissions committee that reviewed thousands of applications and helped interview 200 finalists.

“When I interviewed the candidates, the question I asked myself was, ‘Would I want this person to be my doctor?’ Says Milunski. “And there was no doubt in my mind after reading Elona’s candidacy and speaking with her. Not only did she have remarkable credentials, but I was also in awe of her story. She had a vision. She knew where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do, and then she chased him.

Rrapo Kaso also remembers this interview, saying it gave him a clearer vision of his future.

“I clearly remember thinking… in my mind that when I finish all my training, I want to be a cardiologist like Dr. Milunski,” she says.

During his final year at UCF, Rrapo Kaso enrolled in an internal medicine residency at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She then completed a Fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine and Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Still passionate about returning to Orlando, she applied for the position of VA and, for the second time in her medical career, interviewed Dr Milunski.

“When I returned, I was amazed at the growth of Medical City,” she says. “There are so many more medical buildings, housing, restaurants and shops and I was very happy to be back here. It is a great opportunity to participate in patient care, and above all a great honor to provide care to veterans.

In his new role, Rrapo-Kaso will help develop an advanced cardiac imaging program that will bring coronary angiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging services to the Orlando VA. She will also help train internal medicine residents and medical students at UCF during their cardiology internships.

“It’s really great to find her again, and as a colleague this time,” says Milunski. “In a few years, we hope to have a heart surgery program here and become a full-service cardiovascular center. So we look forward to Elona growing up in this unit and becoming a leader here. “

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