Class of 1999
Birthplace: Portland, Ore.
Hometown: Centralia, Wash.
Undergraduate major: microbiology
Residency: internship in transitional medicine at Malden Hospital in Boston and residency in ophthalmology at Boston University Medical Center
Career aspiration: ophthalmology fellowships
Favorite P&S course and favorite medical textbook: In retrospect, the first year anatomy course has taken its proper place in the pantheon of uber courses. I now know that it is no less and no more important to master than any other basic medical science. But during those long winter days of my first year I struggled with the misconception that if I didnt have a perfectly detailed 1-D image of the human body rotating around in my minds eye 24 hours a day for the rest of my life I would eventually be the cause of loss of life and be responsible for much suffering. In my quest for such an image the Atlas of Human Anatomy or Netter by Frank Netter, M.D., was invaluable in making sense of the sometimes unorganized appearance of my cadaver after dissection. In the end I was only moderately successful (Ill settle for a pair of rotating eyes) but had I not access to a copy of the beautiful and uncluttered color plates in Netter I would surely have gone bonkers.
Favorite P&S teacher: Dr. Jay Lefkowitch is a great educator and he certainly doesnt need another pat on the back but I think he is right where he should be. He consistently presents core medical knowledge in a manner that is manageable and memorable. He leads small group pathology sessions with a sardonic sense of humor that relieves anxiety and facilitates meaningful interaction. His lecture notes and the small drawings that accompany the notes masterfully diagram core medical knowledge and forms that elusive Big Picture that bridges the basic science and clinical years of med school.
Last non-medical book read: Ive just begun the Walker Percy novel Love in the Ruins. It is the first book of his that Ive read and I havent gotten far, maybe page nine or ten. The protagonist at this point is describing his neighbor named Barry, a former Seattle native who has an obsessive desire to set the world right by controlling germs. The classmate who loaned me the book didnt mention the neighbor and I cant help but wonder if he was sending me a message.
Favorite New York restaurant: I am a vegetarian and I enjoy restaurants like Zen Palate in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
One attribute that I believe helped me get admitted to P&S: I was interviewed by Dr. Kenneth Forde. The interview was conversational and pleasant but as we wove our way through the standard topics commonly explored during med school interviews no sparks were flying. Minutes passed and the chance to leave a meaningful positive impression seemed to fade as the interview was coming to an end. In closing Dr. Forde asked me how I would occupy myself if I did not enter medicine and I answered that I would immerse myself in archaeology and perhaps dig. He seemed to lean forward in his chair and the whole tone of our interaction changed. We began an animated discussion that included among other things our mutual fascination with the study of lost civilizations and the evidence of their existence left on Earth. I entered the subway station afterwards feeling great about the interview, honored at meeting Dr. Forde, and sure that P&S and I would make a great match!
Most memorable experience at P&S: Neil Goyal and I were watching the 1995-96 New Years Eve ball drop on TV in the lounge room on the top of Bard Hall. I mentioned to him that I had some fireworks in my room that I hadnt lit off yet because they were small rockets and might damage something if I set them off in the streets. He insisted that the outdoor deck would provide a perfect launch pad and we spent a fair amount of the remainder of 1995 firing whistling missiles into the sky over Riverside Drive.
P&S faculty legend with whom I identify: Shortly after I began reading Love in the Ruins I learned that I had not left my days as a third-year clerk in the HIV/TB unit unscathed: In the winter of 1998 I developed a positive reaction to PPD. My chest X-ray did not show any disease and I elected to go on six months of isoniazid therapy. I couldnt help but recall that Walker Percy himself had been exposed to the dreaded bacilli and I cant imagine what he must have felt like when he developed active TB shortly after his internship. Leaving the practice of medicine as he did is a tough decision to make and I hope I am never in a similar situation.
Favorite activity outside of medical school: I spent 12 days in August of 1995 driving a pickup truck with a motorcycle in the back from Seattle to Washington Heights. I arrived on the first day of orientation of med school. Within four days my truck had been stolen but the motorcycle remained as it had been parked at a different location. Those first few weeks of endless hours in the labs and at the library were punctuated by quick dashes on the motorcycle to explore various parts of the city. Riding the bike liberated me and was a powerful stress reliever. My short jaunts became an integral part of my weekly routine and although I no longer have the bike with me here in New York I indulge my motorcycle wanderlust whenever I can.