Student Spotlight: Ralph Lamonge
Ralph Lamonge is a Bachelors of Health Science Junior, whose inner drive stems from watching his Mother balance raising two boys, a full time job, and a full course load of nursing school. Accompanying the hard work ethic that was instilled in him by his mother as child came along a strong interest in learning about the health & physiology of the human body. He smiles as he recalls spending hours reading his mother’s nursing textbooks and listening to her recount her interactions with patients. Ralph states that these experiences resulted in the beginning of his passion for the clinical field of medicine.
His eagerness to fuel that passion led him to begin volunteering at the Alachua County Health Department during his freshman year at UF. Ralph began his experience there as a greeter for the department’s Minority AIDS Program (MAP) outreach clinics. Within a year, he took the initiative to take the courses necessary to become a Certified HIV counselor for the Health Department. This only allowed him to become a stronger advocate for MAP’s cause. Since then, Ralph has provided support in the areas of HIV counseling and testing, HIV and STD prevention education, program implementation, and coordinating events. He is heavily involved in promoting and coordinating HIV counseling/testing in non-traditional clinics around Gainesville. For example, on Thursday nights, twice a month, from 10-1am, you will find him with his co-workers handing out free condoms and educational pamphlets to those attending the festivities of Downtown Gainesville.
His efforts have helped link many individuals to care in Alachua County and has awarded him the UF Presidential Service Award for the past two consecutive years. Ralph will tell you that his work with the Health Department and his interest in medicine combined, allowed him to see the importance of being knowledgeable about methods promoting Public health. Now in his second semester of the BHS program and with a declared minor in Public Health, he believes the knowledge he has acquired in his courses will perform as an advantage for his future career goals.
He currently serves as the Treasurer for the Health and Public Health College Counsel and is responsible for delegating funds to our sub-organizations. Meanwhile, Ralph spends his time doing research in the UF laboratory of Organofluorine Chemistry with chemistry professor Dr. Simon E. Lopez. Ralph Lamonge is one to stress the importance of mentorship. He is quick to express his appreciation for the various mentors that he believes, have played a substantial role in his success while attending the University of Florida. During the summer of 2014, Ralph was 1 of 81 students from around the nation selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to attend a six-week medical program at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. There, he was able to receive mentorship by distinguished faculty members and exposure to various fields of medicine in a clinical environment.
Currently, Ralph is under the mentorship of Associate Professor and Chief Director of UF’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency program, Dr. John Davis. On a weekly basis, he attends patient conference meetings and observes multiple surgeries performed by Dr. Davis. In these conference meetings, he has learned to value the immense amount of comprehensive teamwork that is involved in creating a plan-of-action for patients. It is during the surgeries, he states, that “I am able to appreciate the beauty of effective leadership and teamwork combining to enhance the health of patients.” Ralph’s most memorable moment this year is seeing the birth of fraternal twins in January.
Whenever he has free time, Ralph enjoys being an avid soccer fanatic, playing tennis and pretending to be amateur chef. He also mentors students of Gainesville High School. One of Ralph life goals is to continue developing his ability to lead others. He acknowledges that his career path will require him to be well versed in such skill. He believes that leaders strive to give back to others in an everlasting way, that they are true servants of the people.