K-State graduation year: May 2006
Degree: BA Spanish and BS Human Nutrition
Other degree received: MD, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque NM
Current employer: First Choice Community Health Care and University of New Mexico Hospitals, Department of Family Medicine
Position: Family Physician, Outpatient Clinic. Attending Physician for Maternal Child Health Service (the family medicine obstetrics and infant service at UNMH)
In high school I had an interest in learning Spanish after doing volunteer work multiple summers in Mexico. I also was interested in health and fitness and wanted to learn more about nutrition so I picked my majors bases on the desire to learn more about these fields.
- Tri Delta Sorority
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Phi Kappa Phi
- Golden Key Honor Society
After college I received a Fulbright grant to do research at El Instituto Nacional De Salud Publica in Cuernavaca, Mexico. I worked in public health research related to nutrition and childhood obesity. I then completed Medical School and Family Medicine Residency in New Mexico.
As a primary care physician its fairly easy to find a job because there is a high demand for primary care physicians such as Family Physicians, Internal Medicine Physicians, or Pediatricians. I was interested in working with an underserved Spanish speaking community so when looking for a medical practice I focused on the patient population as well as a practice with similar values among my coworkers.
I work usually 8-5 at an outpatient medical practice. I have the opportunity to take care of patients with a wide range of medical problems, from newborns, women needing prenatal care, adults and the elderly. A few times a month I work with the residents at UNM hospitals supervising obstetrical care.
I love the variety. I really feel that I use my undergraduate education daily as I speak Spanish about 65% of every day in the clinic. I like helping patient’s lead healthier lives. I also enjoy the relationships that are built with patients over their lifespan.
Physicians are pulled in many directions from administrative tasks, to teaching residents, to taking care of patients, it can be difficult to find balance with work and home life.
I think medicine is an exciting field for people who desire to constantly learn new things, as well as have the opportunity to help people.
The road to becoming a physician can be long. There are many requirements and tasks such as pre-medical classes in college, getting good grades, and taking the MCAT. Then medical school can be a challenging environment with studying and working many clinical hours as well as taking multiple board exams. After medical school comes more clinical training in the field of your interest during residency; which can range from 3-7 years. After residency some physicians will do fellowship and become more specialized in their fields and some will start to practice in the community. It can seem like a long process, but for myself it was worth it in the end.
No, since deciding to become a physician with the exception of the year I spent doing research as a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, I have been pretty much on the same training track.
I was lucky to meet my husband in medical school, we did the residency match together and together we picked a residency that would be great for both of our careers.
I believe both of my majors have been very important to my career. Learning Spanish has allowed me to work with a larger population of patients. Learning more about nutrition has given me a great advantage working with patients on making lifestyle changes for improved diet. Unfortunately nutrition does not get more than a few lectures in medical school so I felt fortunate to have this education prior to becoming a physician.
Get involved with research that interests you. Learn another language and if you study language go abroad for a semester if possible. I spent at least a year in Mexico and Spain while in college and these were some of my favorite memories.
My favorite class in college was Spanish Poetry, I don’t think it helped my medical career but the lectures and poetry by Dr. Benson were memorable.
I had a lot of help from many people in the College of Human Ecology, especially in the department of Human Nutrition. Dr. Mary Higgins was my research advisor, and I felt that all of the faulty were approachable and helpful.
Be your own advocate, be confident in your skills and education, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
I am in touch with many students from my majors and I think that we are supportive of each other in professional networks.
For more information, Elizabeth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org