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School of Medicine Columbia

Alumni Spotlight: Angelo Sarmiento

By Dom Palumbo - SOMC Web Developer:

Unopposed opportunities, one-on-one and individualized learning opportunities and the best decision of his medical career, defined M.D. Class of 2020 alum, Angelo Sarmiento’s time at the School of Medicine Columbia’s Florence Regional Campus.

“I would definitely say going to Florence was one of the best decisions of my medical career,” Sarmiento said. “Not only because it was a great place and a growing area, but because it provided me with such an individualized education and so many one-on-one opportunities with attendings during my rotations.”

A Greenville, South Carolina, native, Sarmiento completed his undergraduate degree at New York University to gain some experience in leaving the nest and the state he called home.

A son to a pair of physicians, Sarmiento had been around and impacted by the field of medicine throughout his life, always feeling like medicine was calling him both back home and into the profession.

“Throughout college I did some shadowing of doctors and worked as an EMT and honestly just fell in love with the field. That’s when I ultimately decided to pursue medical school and I found my way back to South Carolina and to the SOMC,” Sarmiento recalled.

While in Columbia as an M-I student, Sarmiento made what would end up becoming a career-defining decision to complete his M-III and M-IV years at the Florence Regional Campus in the state’s Pee Dee region.

“Doing my rotations in Florence provided a really great opportunity to be able to work with attendings one-on-one. I was often the first assist on a number of surgeries. I helped deliver over 20 babies on my ob/gyn rotation and I had the opportunity to explore ent and ophthalmology during my surgery clerkship as a third year,” Sarmiento said.

Following a pair of years in Florence that helped Sarmiento find a passion and a joy for ophthalmology, the kid from South Carolina matched in the Ophthalmology Residency Program with Cook County Health in Chicago.

When he arrived in Illinois, the work he was being asked to do was often work he had both already been exposed to and done.

“There’s just a confidence that you get when you’ve done procedures before. While in Florence I was able to put in central lines, work one-on-one with physicians, care for a pretty large number of patients, which ultimately improved my bedside manner and confidence as a physician,” he said.

As a current fourth-year resident in Chicago, Sarmiento is Chief Resident—a position chosen by his peers and attendings—and upon graduation this summer, will begin a two-year fellowship in Retinal Surgery at Northwestern University, with the hope of one day pursuing a career that will provide him the joys of operating on patients and teaching the generation of health care providers that come after him.

“Ultimately I want to work with residents and medical students,” Sarmiento said. “I love teaching and working with all types of learners. I think the ultimate goal is to work in my own private practice while being affiliated with an educational hospital or program to not only work in the field, but help to grow the next generation.”

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