Lucy Varela-Quintero is a project manager in the School of Medicine's Office of Medical Education.
Lucy Varela-Quintero is a project manager in the School of Medicine's Office of Medical Education.
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People of the U: Lucy Varela-Quintero

Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Ruth Cummins

Editor's Note: Front and Center is part of an ongoing series featuring UMMC's faculty, staff and students. See more Front and Center features.

Lucy Varela-Quintero is a great match for her job as project manager II in the University of Mississippi School of Medicine’s Office of Medical Education.

In fact, one of her biggest endeavors is organizing and managing Match Day, an annual spring event during which fourth-year medical students discover where they will perform their residencies following May graduation. “I also do the match reports, which include information on where the students are going and specialty information,” Varela-Quintero said.

A University of Mississippi Medical Center employee for more than nine years, Varela-Quintero has worked in the Office of Medical Education for about five years. She assists Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams, the SOM’s vice dean for medical education, in a variety of projects impacting the preparation of students for the next chapter in their medical education.

“One of my major projects is gathering medical student performance evaluation letters,” Varela-Quintero said. “Students use the letters to apply for residencies. It’s a performance evaluation that includes information on the students from their pre-clinical years through their third year.”

Varela-Quintero also maintains an educational dashboard rich in student statistics that include match rates, STEP test scores, and undergraduate and SOM grade point averages. “I’m also responsible for a graduation questionnaire,” she said. “Students receive it during their fourth year. It asks them about their experiences while in medical school. I put it into a graph format, and it carries a lot of weight because it helps us to see strengths and weaknesses.”

One of Varela-Quintero’s most enjoyable responsibilities is working with students inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes medical students, residents and faculty who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who can serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine.

“I have a lot of contact with our students, and that’s why I really like Gold Humanism,” Varela-Quintero said. “I love interacting with the students. Today, the Gold Humanism students made treats for the M1s taking their gross anatomy test. They were able to tell the students good luck, and that they would do well on their test.”

“Lucy has continued to be an innovative project manager,” Jackson-Williams said. “A lot of the wonderful activities by the Gold Humanism Honor Society are attributed to her insights regarding inclusion of overlooked individuals.”

When she’s not at the U, Varela-Quintero said, she enjoys spending time with family. She and her husband, both natives of Mexico, have two children, both college students. “I’m always running around with my kids,” she said. “I love taking trips with my girlfriends and my husband, and I enjoy attending church, going to Bible study and taking walks.” 

Varela-Quintero works collaboratively with diverse groups and is a strong advocate for patients and students, Jackson-Williams said.

“She works well with everyone and brings her unique perspective to all of her other projects,” Jackson-Williams said. “She consistently demonstrates leadership in expanding diversity and inclusion in our workplace.”

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