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Rachael Branscomb | CU School of Medicine

Rachael Branscomb Fulfills Childhood Dream of Making a Difference Through Medicine

The CU School of Medicine student looks forward to helping children and underserved communities through her pediatric residency.

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What You Need To Know

This story is part of the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Graduation coverage highlighting our graduates. 

Rachael Branscomb, a fourth-year student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, decided to be a pediatrician when she was just 8 years old. Now, with graduation on the horizon, she’s excited to take the next step in reaching her childhood goal.  

 As a young child, Branscomb took part in a growth hormone study in the endocrinology department at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Spending so much time in the hospital and getting to know all the doctors involved with the study inspired a lifelong passion for a career in medicine. “Even at that young age, I wanted to be like those doctors and learn more about what they were doing,” Branscomb says. “I decided then and there that I was going to be a doctor too.” 


This past March, Branscomb matched for a pediatric residency at the CU School of Medicine where she will train at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Denver Health. 


Making a dream into reality 


Branscomb, who was born in China, was adopted when she was a year old and raised in Colorado. Growing up near the CU Anschutz Medical Campus gave her the opportunity to engage with the robust health care network on the campus. Throughout high school, she shadowed doctors and completed research at Children’s Hospital Colorado to test the waters and make sure that medicine was the right career for her.  

After finishing her undergraduate program at Oberlin College, she took a gap year to work as a scribe in an emergency department in Brooklyn, New York.  

“I needed to make sure that I really wanted to commit myself fully to medicine before deciding to attend medical school,” Branscomb says. “I loved it, and committed to pursuing medicine.” 

When she returned to her hometown to attend the CU School of Medicine, she considered multiple specialties as she progressed through the curriculum. While she enjoyed family medicine and surgery, Branscomb believes her skill set is best suited to pediatrics. She found that making a positive impact on children’s lives resonates with her in a way that other areas didn’t. 

Branscomb holding up a sign with her pediatrics placement at CU on Match Day 2024.


Branscomb celebrating her peds placement at Match Day 2024.


“I have always loved helping kids. They are so resilient, and they’re fun to work with,” Branscomb says. “They are at an age where we can make such profound changes in their lives. If they need a medical treatment, or a congenital heart defect repaired, or social supports implemented in their lives, we can make a huge difference for them.”   

Being of service

Branscomb has a passion for helping those in need. She has volunteered at the DAWN Clinic, a student-run, free clinic providing care for underserved communities in Aurora. She says the experience helped her learn the importance of finding a sense of purpose and pride in helping patients who have limited access to health care and medical support.  

“It’s helped me become more comfortable around medicine, talking to patients, and coming up with healthcare plans.” Branscomb says. “And I've gotten to help out some of the first and second year students and watch them grow and progress.” 

Throughout her experiences, Branscomb has discovered a love for helping others not only through her clinical work, but also in medical education. She is currently enrolled in the Physicians as Educators elective, where she is able to support younger medical students with everything from anatomy labs to ultrasounds.  

Though pediatric endocrinology has been Branscomb’s childhood goal, she is also considering other specialties. Pediatric hematology, oncology, and cardiology have become areas of interest as she has progressed through school.  

“I'm going into residency with an open mind,” Branscomb says. “Wherever I end up, I hope to carry through with my interests in medical education and working with disadvantaged populations, because I think developing those skills and awareness is extremely important to being a good doctor.” 

Branscomb feeding Bear the calf during a rural family medicine rotation.


Branscomb feeding Bear the calf during her rural family medicine rotation.


Branscomb says that focusing on a growth mindset has been important to keeping her motivated over the last four years.  

“I try to remember that I’m here to learn, even if I mess things up,” she says. “It can be such a high-pressure, nerve-wracking situation when you’re helping people. But if you maintain the willingness to learn and not be embarrassed when things don't go exactly right, you’ll learn from that experience and succeed.”