I always knew I wanted a career in which I was contributing to the greater good. While I enjoyed the conceptual rigor of science, it was only in medicine that I found a way of using my intellectual skills to help others.
I was fortunate to have an amazing role model from whom I learned the definition of the servant leader. My father was a general and cardiac surgeon in West Virginia, an underserved part of the country, and showed me how one person could impact their environment. His contribution was not just through his practice, but by training the next generation of physicians to serve their community.
In my father’s era, the vast majority of physicians were men, but I grew up in a family where I was told women could be anything they aspired to be. The ability to directly address a patient’s problem, with clear and immediately measurable successes, was an incredible counterpoint to my academic love for basic science—a much slower and more finicky process.
I am honored and privileged to care for patients at their most vulnerable times and shepherd them through their cancer journey. I am invigorated by our residents and trainees who are creative, dedicated and incredibly bright. I honestly believe I have the best job in the world. Although he died before I finished residency, my dad would be proud of his Appalachian girl who “made it” at Harvard Medical School.