By: Leesa Prescod
After graduating from UMass Dartmouth and UMass Medical School, Dr. Michael Rocha ’98 is in his ninth year as a sought after cardiologist with Hawthorn Medical Associates. Dr. Rocha loves his career, and finds positivity in every aspect of the job.
“The most challenging thing is to get to know your patients, but it’s the most rewarding at the same time because that’s really when the healing can happen,” Rocha said. “And also cultivating patients to be their own best healer is really the most important thing.”
While his duty is to treat the human body, listening and developing a connection is a key factor for healing his patients. “Listening is the most important thing that I do out of anything,” he said. “It’s more important than any test or procedure.”
UMassD prepared chemistry alum for medical school
As a chemistry major, Rocha gained the knowledge he needed to be successful in medical school. “I think that I had plenty of opportunities to learn my way through things, and I had some great professors that stretched me in terms in what I was able to think about, and prepared me for going to medical school,” Rocha said.
He spent his years in medical school and residency alongside colleagues from many different undergraduate colleges, and he felt just as prepared as those from Ivy league schools. “I felt well prepared to take on the challenges of medical school,” he said. “I didn’t feel intimidated in any way.”
The music and medicine connection
Other than excelling in medicine, music has also played a big role in Rocha’s life. Rocha can play everything from classical, rock n’ roll, and jazz, and he thinks that his musical talents have helped him in the field of medicine. “In a funny way, being a musician makes me a better doctor and being a doctor helps me be a better musician," Rocha said.
Rocha is also interested in preventive care and is the director of the New Bedford Wellness Initiative. He is working to improve the health of residents in the New Bedford area. “Some people think we have a pill or procedure, and that is going to fix everything and that everything goes away,” Dr. Rocha said. “But it’s really in making sure that we treat the whole person – it’s a challenge, but also a reward.”