Voices of HMSOM: Valentine Inspired by Love of Humanism   

Voices of HMSOM: Valentine Inspired by Love of Humanism

Lauren Valentine can vividly recall images of loupes and forceps on the kitchen table of her childhood home. The small instruments were frequently used by her parents to inspect and repair jewelry for the small business they owned together.

Years later, those childhood memories from Connecticut would come rushing back – as she would see those same tools being used in the operating room by plastic surgeons during microsurgery cases. It was just one of the parallels this first-generation college student would observe between the family business and plastic surgery – the field in which she plans to dedicate her career.

“Lauren Valentine is a student who has not only earned her career path here at our school - she has also enriched our school through her participation from its very beginnings,” said Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., president and dean, of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.


Drawn to biology and chemistry classes during undergrad at Boston College, Lauren presumed she would go into basic science research. But after working as a medical assistant in a dermatology office, she realized her passion for clinical medicine. Human interaction, she realized, fuels her drive for medicine - and her burgeoning career.

“I felt immense fulfillment from directly engaging with patients and listening to their stories. These interactions made me want to further explore hands-on patient care and pushed me to apply to medical school. Now, every time I scrub into the operating room or interact with patients in the hospital, I am reminded of the impact that I can have as a provider and my passion is reaffirmed,” Valentine said.

So when Lauren experienced the humanistic approach taken by the professionals at HMSOM – that in her words, places patients at the forefront - she knew it would be a great fit. And it’s proven to be, even more than she could have imagined.

“My most significant accomplishment at the SOM is the profound sense of fulfillment I’ve experienced, knowing that I had made the right choice and seized every opportunity available to me at the school,” she said, ”I’ve undergone a profound learning transformation that’s allowed me to be one of the first students to apply to the field of plastic surgery from our school.

“The best memories I’ve made are certainly rooted in the people I’ve met,” she added.” I undoubtedly have met my closest friends through the SOM and these relationships are much more than just professional networks. The shared experiences of late-night study sessions, navigating clerkships together and helping each other out every step of the way has fostered lifelong friendships.”


Students graduating this year have had the unique experience of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the health crisis unfolded and the SOM education continued to progress, many of our aspiring doctors found themselves empowered to contribute to the health care response in a meaningful and memorable way.

For Lauren that included administering COVID vaccines at nearby clinics. She and a friend also created a virtual program during the pandemic that connected team members from the HMH community with medical students to host virtual babysitting. All this while she continued to hold a student role on the Board of Governors, and gave back as a tutor and a peer mentor.


In the midst of participating in residency applications, Lauren took a major personal plunge – she got married in August. She somehow managed to carve out time to plan her wedding during a research year she took in between the third and fourth year of med school, while also taking part in a year-long research fellowship with Harvard’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“My husband has been there every step of the way from the very first day of medical school, and has been my biggest supporter,” she recalls.

Her husband, Seán Taylor, falls naturally into the support system that Lauren has depended on and will continue to lean on during her residency and beyond. That includes an older sister, younger brother and her parents, who through their jewelry business and love at home, have been shining examples of unwavering work ethic and ambition.

“I’m incredibly close with my family and am very fortunate to have had their support through every step of this journey.”

Lauren Valentine

Lauren in the operating room with one of her mentors, Dr. Caroline Glicksman

Lauren Valentine

Lauren and her group of medical school friends at HMSOM formal

Lauren Valentine

Presenting research at Harvard’s Annual Research Day 2023

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