Why did you choose to become a doctor?
I didn’t come to medicine until eight years out of college. Up until that point, I wasn’t able to directly see the good I was doing in the world. My husband was in medical school at the time, and it was always so clear what his purpose was – who he was helping. And then I read this quote by Marx that said a person needed to be close to the work of their hands. It just made sense to me: I wanted my purpose to be clear. I wanted the effects of what I do – any goodness that I put out into the world – to be visible to me in a daily, present way. I was inspired by the prospect of entering people’s lives in moments of need, in moments where they were vulnerable. I felt like it would be a great privilege to be able to do that.
What’s one memory that stands out from your residency?
There are many ways to care for a patient that are codified and taught. But then there’s so much more to the art of medicine that you’re not taught.
One way I saw that play out in my residency was when I had a patient in the emergency room who was cold and in pain. Everything was just so uncomfortable for her, but noticing that probably the most uncomfortable thing for her in that moment was that she was cold, and being able to solve that with blankets and a hospital jacket – that’s not something that is formally taught, but it’s this art that is so central in how patients remember these very significant moments in their lives.
What’s something your patients might not know about you?
I am a dancer. In college, I was part of a vintage dance group that once toured Europe, performing in the old ballrooms of Prague, Vienna, and Paris. After college, I had a short stint as a professional swing dancer here in the Bay Area, choreographing, teaching, and performing in all kinds of venues – concerts with Wynton Marsalis, TV bits, even corporate parties and weddings! This past December, my husband and I were tapped to dance the “Party Parents” role in City Ballet San Francisco’s Nutcracker production at the Palace of Fine Arts. It had been a minute since we last put on our dance shoes!
Any podcast recommendations you want to share?
For keeping up with medicine, I love getting the latest info fed to me by a podcast called The Curbsiders. This is a group of internal medicine doctors, one whom I used to work with at UCSF Women’s Health, that interviews experts on common primary care topics. They present relevant information, review the evidence, and present practice-changing pearls.
Another one I love is How I Built This, an NPR podcast interviewing people who have started companies that ended up being successful (mostly). Their stories of creativity, adversity, and triumph are powerful and inspirational. There’s an underlying courage, vulnerability…a resilience and tirelessness that these people have (think Jordan!) that makes me feel like I could really get out there and start something great!