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Joseph Burns


Degree: Doctor of Medicine

College/School: Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Joseph “Joe” Burns’ childhood was a series of doctor visits. He was born prematurely with a bicuspid aortic valve-- a condition in which the main artery that leads from the heart to the body has two cusps instead of three.

In 2015, the same week he had open heart surgery, he accepted the invitation to join the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Class of 2019. His goal: to become a dedicated, compassionate physician like the ones who treated him.

The surgical scar that lies across Joe’s chest is a reminder of that goal. He is proud of it. He says it ties him to his past as a patient, his future as a cardiologist, and the bond that he will share with his patients.

At FIU, Joe earned multiple merit-based scholarships, served as art director for the 2016 Mammography Art Initiative and participated in the creation of the Panther Learning Community immersion orientation that introduces students to their Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP community. Joe also earned a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteer service, with more than 4,000 hours. He is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and co-edited the American Medical Student Association’s official publication, The New Physician. Joe’s creative writing also has appeared in several publications.

Joe will perform his residency training in pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, New York. He then plans to do a fellowship in pediatric cardiology so he can devote his career to helping others like him.

By Ileana Varela,
Associate Director of Marketing and PR, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine