Carlos Arias

Degree: Master in Physician Assistant Studies

College/School: Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Carlos Arias’ journey into medicine was inspired by a lifetime as a patient.

Barely a month after arriving from Cuba with his parents in 1998, Carlos became gravely ill. The 8-year-old was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a life-threatening infection that causes the brain to swell, along with hepatitis A, and systematic vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels that can restrict blood flow, resulting in organ and tissue damage.

He was in a coma for 18 days and spent 45 days in intensive care. When he awoke, he could not walk or talk. His right arm was paralyzed, his left eye was blind, and he had retrograde amnesia. Doctors were not optimistic, but Carlos fully regained his motor skills and sensory abilities.

Despite taking off a couple of semesters due to health issues including heart problems, an enlarged spleen, and a very serious condition that causes swelling of the kidneys and required two major surgeries, Carlos persevered in his studies. In 2014, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and returned for a degree in psychology, graduating cum laude from FIU. He also volunteered with Ronald McDonald House, Relay for Life, Dance Marathon, and food drives. He also co-founded CURE, an organization that helps FIU undergrads improve their pre-health experiences.

As a member of the Master in Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2018, Carlos continued to lead by example. He served as class president and is graduating in the top 10 percent of his class.

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