As a child, did you think you’d be where you are today professionally?
Throughout most of my early life, I planned on being a veterinarian. Growing up, I had cats, frogs, hamsters and even a hedgehog that I wound up taking to medical school. In my studies, I eventually realized that there would be times that people couldn’t afford to do something for a pet, so it would have to be put down, or a pet would have to go through an intense chemo treatment, and it couldn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t see those limitations in human medicine to the same degree.
How would you describe your journey to becoming the doctor you are today?
I never thought of going into gastroenterology. In fact, I struggled with GI tract issues when I was younger, and I remember thinking, “Why would anyone go into this field? Who goes into a field that deals with poop?” But I really wanted to go into a field that helps women, and it became clear that the best way to do this was to go into a field that doesn’t have many women.
Describe the moment or time of life you decided to have a career in medicine.
As part of my internal medicine training, I rotated in gastroenterology. I loved the mix between getting to see patients and using my procedural skills. Females on average have longer colons, which tend to be packed into a smaller body cavity. This creates more twists and turns and a longer procedure. You have to be very efficient.
Describe a moment you felt like giving up. Why didn’t you?
This is a field with a lot of sacrifice, and you need to be passionate about it. I’m fortunate that I love what I do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Even if I had the chance to go back in time and choose a different career, I would keep choosing gastroenterology again and again.