The Future document follows the leadership of PA Brother


When Maria Silito-Robles began her medical school at Michigan State University this year, her older brother, Physician Assistant (PA), “covered it,” which helped guide her career path. Robles’ tweet went viral about the paint party that marked the start of her medical training, with many praising the siblings’ inspiring story.

Robles is a first-year student at Michigan State College of Medicine. Brother Carlito Robles worked as a public legal officer for about a year at an urgent care clinic near Flint, Michigan, after attending Central Michigan University.

Medscape Medical News Maria and Carlito Robles met to talk about their shared pursuit of medical careers, how their childhoods in the Philippines shaped their career aspirations, and what it’s like to be siblings in fields that don’t always agree with each other, particularly on the scope of practice issues.


Medscape: What made you enter medicine?

Maria: It was the culmination of many different experiences throughout my life. One of the most moving events was the accident that left my younger brother with second degree burns, and it was the kindness of this doctor that brought so much relief to my anxious and anxious parents.

The opportunity to work with and advocate for vulnerable populations, such as immigrants, who face unique barriers to accessing medical care has also inspired me. This was primarily due to my family’s own experience in the US after we immigrated from the Philippines in 2003.

Carlito: Our mother played a big role in my love for medicine. She is a nurse and I’ve watched her impact her community… I knew I wanted to go into the medical field at a young age but wasn’t quite sure what career path I should choose until after college. I wanted to be able to care for patients in the community as well as participate in medical missions trips around the world.

I thought about becoming a doctor, along with APRN [advanced practice registered nurse] and PT [physical therapist]. In the summer after I graduated from college, a friend of mine told me about protected areas. I took core courses while on the job and advanced the following year. I eventually chose to become a PA because of their ability to practice medicine [under a physician’s direct supervision] And they have lateral movement, [the ability to] Switch majors without additional training such as residencies. I enjoy being able to diagnose, treat patients and perform simple procedures in my current role, but I also love the idea of ​​being able to change majors if and when I decide to.

Medscape: Why not become a PA like your brother?

Maria: I was introduced to research shortly after graduating from university and really enjoyed it. I loved the idea of ​​becoming a doctor and a scientist and doing translational research to advance the science of medicine.

Medscape: To what extent did his career choice influence your decision?



Siblings as children.

Maria: I don’t think it affected my decision, but it enhanced my experience even more. We lived together in his last year at PA school while I was applying and giving interviews at medical school. It was amazing to have a support system built in as we tackled the challenges we faced. I am also fortunate to have someone to study with. When I find it difficult to learn a concept, it is a good idea to talk with it through the material as it helps me identify and bridge knowledge gaps. He’s also great at explaining concepts to me from a different perspective and explaining them in a different way if I’m having a hard time understanding something.

Medscape: How do you feel about your sister entering medical school?

Carlito: I am so proud of her. She worked hard for a chance to become a doctor and I had no doubts that she would reach her goals.

Medscape: What are your relationships with doctors like? Will your sister as a doctor affect your relationship with doctors?

Carlito: I work under the supervision of two emergency medicine doctors. My role has a lot of independence, but I also have a great working relationship with other providers and can go to them for help. I have a lot of respect for the doctors but I can expect to gain more appreciation for their training as my sister progresses on her journey.

In short, we believe that physicians are experts in their specialties and that PAs are an extension of this practice. – Carlito Robles

Medscape: Physicians and PAs seem to have professional rivalries, at times, mostly over scope of practice. Do you think you would have a different perspective as siblings in these areas?

Maria: I appreciate and respect my brother’s ideas and opinions. I am excited to learn more about his profession and learn from him in general. I see us in different areas as an opportunity to share our individual knowledge with each other and support each other in continuing to grow in our clinical practice.

He will also have about 5 years of clinical practice under his belt by the time I start the residency, so I am sure he will have a wealth of knowledge to share with me and help me develop as a physician.

Carlito: I think my sister and I share a similar view about the roles of doctors and PAs. In short, we believe that physicians are experts in their specialties and that PAs are an extension of this practice.

Medscape: How did your brother’s paint look?

Maria: It was really a special moment. For me, it was the culmination of my parents’ sacrifices and hard work. They took the opportunity and left everything behind in the hope of a better future for my brothers and sisters.

I thought it would be a lovely moment to kind of thank them for making those sacrifices and difficult decisions, as well as for their constant support throughout our solo travels.

Medscape: You watched your brother’s journey through medical training. What do you look forward to the most? Fear based on his experiences?



Siblings at a young age.

Maria: I am very excited about my educational growth to become a doctor. I saw him manage the stress of learning a lot of the material and slowly over time applying that newfound knowledge into clinical practice. It was also amazing to see him grow in his confidence as he mastered new clinical skills.

I’m only 5 weeks into medical school, but with our early experience curriculum and the many hours I’ve spent in the sim lab it’s been really nice to see this progress [while] Learn and master new skills.

I’m afraid of having to deal with and deal with difficult personalities in the clinical environment. Medicine is a high pressure environment. I’ve heard stories and witnessed firsthand how stressful confrontations with coaches negatively affected his experience. I could see the emotional toll it was taking on him.

Medscape: Do you think you will work together in the future?

Maria: I am honored to work with my brother. His general kindness and compassion translate into his medical practice, and I know I will learn a lot from him. I remember thinking while he was in PA school how lucky his patients would be in the future, seeing how much time and effort he devoted to studying medicine and enhancing his clinical skills.

Carlito: I think that would be amazing. It may just depend on the major you choose.

Medscape: What do your parents think of your medical profession?

Maria: I think they are very proud. They testified that we’ve had these dreams of entering the medical field since we were young, so I think it’s exciting for them to see us achieve these dreams. While my mother was initially concerned about our pursuit of medicine because of how awful this field is, my parents are the most supportive and always encouraged us to pursue whatever careers make us happy.

Carlito: Our parents are so happy and proud that we work in jobs we love and pursue.

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