Pen Bay Medical Center welcomes Hallie Bates and Beth Garbitelli, third-year medical students enrolled in the Maine Track program of Tufts University School of Medicine. They will spend the next nine months rotating through the departments of internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, women’s health and psychiatry.

Bates grew up in Williston, Vt., on a small sheep and goat farm. A graduate of Bowdoin College, Bates majored in anthropology and minored in Spanish. After graduating, she moved to Boston to work as a clinical research coordinator in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bates has volunteered with several organizations to learn about the barriers to health care faced by disadvantaged populations, including Partners for Rural Health in the Dominican Republic and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program. Bates plans to center her medical career around addressing the ways in which health care disparities arise and how we can work to fix them.

“As an anthropology major, I took classes about human society and communities,” Bates said. “It occurred to me that medicine was a center piece of all these different cultures. That’s what attracted me to medical school. I want to pursue a career centered on that one thing that makes us all human.”

After graduating from Georgetown University, Washington D.C., Garbitelli worked as a public media journalist before working as an Associated Press reporter in Vermont, covering local politics and the opioid crisis. Garbitelli then worked as a patent litigation paralegal at Paul Weiss and assisted on cases related to medical devices and pharmaceuticals. She completed a post-baccalaureate premedical certificate at University of Vermont. Garbitelli has served as a hospital volunteer, worked as a coordinator with the Medical Reserve Corps, and currently assists as a correspondent with an internal medicine podcast called The Curbsiders.

“Writing about the opioid crisis and health care gaps in Vermont was a driving factor in my pursuit of a medical career,” Garbitelli said. “I really wanted to find a field where I could be working directly with people every day to help them improve their health and their lives.”

This is the sixth year Pen Bay Medical Center has hosted Tufts students as part of the university’s Maine Track program for students committed to a career in rural medicine. The program provides students with the opportunity to work at clinical sites throughout Maine. Maine Track students receive a combined diploma from the Tufts School of Medicine and Maine Medical Center.