Jay-Sheree Allen, M.D. (FM ’18)
Executive Committee Member
Mayo Clinic Rochester-Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education representative
Resident, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
“Some big institutions aren’t as good as they’re promoted to be. Mayo is one of the few places I’ve been that is better than it’s advertised to be. It’s a well-oiled machine. Everyone does their job so well — from the deans to the janitors. Everyone is passionate about their job or at least puts their best foot forward at work. It makes for an awesome work environment.”
- Residency: Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
- Medical school: Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee
- Undergraduate: City College, City University of New York, New York
- Native of: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Why did you decide to pursue medicine?
My mom is a PACU nurse in New York City, and she told me stories about the residents at her hospital. I think she planted the seed for me to pursue a medical career when I was in middle school. When I got older I decided it was what I wanted.
Why did you train at Mayo Clinic?
During my fourth-year at Meharry I did a visiting medical student rotation at Mayo Clinic. Mayo had done some recruiting at Meharry, and I saw some flyers they’d left behind. My dean suggested Mayo, saying, “It’s the best institution. Prove to yourself that you’re the best.”
I’d planned to return to New York for residency but decided to take him up on his challenge. I enjoyed my family medicine rotation at Mayo Clinic and was impressed with what I’d learned in a month. I thought about how much I could learn in an entire residency. I came for a second look, and the deal was sealed. The first deciding factor was Dr. Kurt Angstman (FM ’89), Department of Family Medicine. He asked me what I wanted to do and where I saw my career going. He was one of very few people who didn’t make me feel my goals were unrealistic or out of reach. I needed someone in my corner to help me accomplish my goals. He was one of the main reasons I decided to come here. The other deciding factor was Dr. Robert Bonacci (FM ’00), the residency program director. During “second look” weekend, he came in from vacation in jeans and a T-shirt to see me and learn why I wanted to come to Mayo Clinic.
What was your initial impression of Mayo Clinic?
Some big institutions aren’t as good as they’re promoted to be. Mayo is one of the few places I’ve been that is better than it’s advertised to be. It’s a well-oiled machine. Everyone does their job so well — from the deans to the janitors. Everyone is passionate about their job or at least puts their best foot forward at work. It makes for an awesome work environment.
I was born in Jamaica and, since moving to the U.S. at age 11, I’ve only lived in a big , and that’s where I planned to practice. I didn’t have any Midwest residency programs on my radar — especially not Rochester, Minnesota. I came here for Mayo. The institution is impressive, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to train here.
What do you contribute to the Alumni Association?
I contribute the current resident perspective. Diversity is a big issue at Mayo Clinic, and I hope to contribute to discussions on that topic.
What do you do in your spare time?
I travel a lot — obviously to New York and Jamaica to visit my parents. I am going to Nicaragua in July 2017 with Dr. John Bachman (FM ’78) and 53 people from the Rochester and Arizona campuses for a global health mission trip. I went to Ghana, Africa, to participate in the Mayo International Health Program in April 2017, spearheaded by Dr. Stephen Merry (FM ’05). I went to China on vacation in 2017 to visit a friend who opened a business there. I’m active on the American Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Continuing Professional Development and travel some for that role. I love experiencing new cultures and seeing how other people live.
I also enjoy doing yoga at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center, and I love to read for pleasure.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m a National Health Service Corps Student to Service Award recipient, which means I’ll work in an underserved area of the U.S. after my residency. After that I’d love to return to Mayo Clinic.
I founded a nonprofit organization as an undergrad — Women of Excellence, Strength & Tenacity (WEST), a mentoring program for young women in Harlem. I’m committed to empowering young women to live up to their highest potential and improve the quality of their lives through optimal health practices.
The experience of my grandmother and many other immigrant women in New York City who prioritize other issues over their own health and health care, drove me to want to work in women’s health. For the rest of my life I want to ensure other women have the opportunities I’ve had, including managing their health to reduce the burden of disease.