John Romano, a 2021 Pisacano Scholar, graduated from UMass Chan Medical School, and is currently a 2nd-year resident in Worcester, Massachusetts. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.
As a college student, John worked as a research fellow with the National Center on Family Homelessness. His work focused on gathering data through research and interviews for the report, “America’s Youngest Outcasts.” He also taught a smoking cessation class in a social-model residential addiction recovery program for people who had recently been incarcerated. His experience helped him understand how life experiences impact who people become and the many factors that play a role in health, including the availability of financial and social resources and support systems.
Prior to medical school, John worked for as a research coordinator for both Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear. As he worked daily with patients, he discovered his passion for connecting with patients which began to lead him toward family medicine. It also provided an opportunity for him to start a support group for patients with a rare blindness-inducing eye disease after learning how many of them needed to talk to others who could understand their experience.
In medical school, John began volunteering with one of Worcester’s free clinics and soon after took on the role of co-president of the student group that helps staff, fund, and coordinate the activities of the seven free clinics in the Greater Worcester area. Recognizing an opportunity to enhance fundraising, John organized a task force of representatives from these community programs to ultimately form a new 501c3 non-profit organization, the Worcester Free Care Collaborative (WFCC). In addition, he led the successful implementation of an electronic medical record pilot project at one clinic site, with other sites now soon to follow. To support these projects and the critical functions of Worcester’s free clinics, John raised over $14,000 through writing grants and negotiating support from UMass Chan Medical School. As a result of his leadership, the WFCC will be able to present more significant funding proposals to community organizations based on its unified structure and ability to collect comprehensive data about their free care services and their community impact. In 2020, John received the MLK Jr. Service Award from UMass in recognition of his work with the WFCC.
John currently serves as a delegate for the Worcester District Medical Society and as a member of its Legislative, Membership, and Public Health committees. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Geriatric Medicine.
In his free time, John is an avid musician who plays both drums and alto saxophone and recently played in a band called Newport Ave. The band played live shows in Worcester, Boston, and other cities in Massachusetts. He also enjoys sports, the outdoors, games of all kinds, and writing. In 2021, John won the “This We Believe” award from the Family Medicine Education Consortium for a reflective writing piece.
As a family physician, John seeks to make roots in a rural, underserved community so that he can deeply understand the unique health needs of a population that lacks access to high-quality preventive medicine and unify local resources to provide comprehensive care.