What is your current title and role?
I am an orthopedic spine surgeon. I have my own practice in Dallas, TX named Spine Vue
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Beltsville, MD which is a small town just outside our nation’s capital Washington DC.
I grew up going to many presidential inaugurations and spending time at the Smithsonian museum.
Tell us about your professional (medical, nursing, allied health, etc) school?
I went to medical school at UCLA. We jokingly said at that the amount of information coming at us was like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. I absolutely loved my experience. I was doing it for a worthy cause which was to help others and I drew strength from that.
Tell us about struggles and challenges in achieving your goal and how you overcame?
I am very blessed to have achieved what I have thus far. I am an engineer and a doctor. There were many struggles and triumphs along the way. An early challenging situation I created for myself was that I had two beautiful daughters at a young age. I use this though to drive me further rather than stop me.
Please share with us about your family and your support group?
God has blessed me to always have someone there when they are needed. I have a fantastic mother who is a friend and a mentor. Along my journey I have met brilliant individuals who provided what was needed at that time whether it be inspiration, mentorship, or just someone to hang out with.
Please share a memorable experience from your training that has stayed with you till today?
When I was an undergraduate, I once thought about leaving the engineering school and going to the Business School. I remember walking from the common food area to one of the main libraries on campus determined to make this decision. I called on those who would advise me but ultimately I was still left with the choice to make on my own. Though I seek advice from those I admire and respect, it is important to me to have choice in my life decisions. The decision is mine to make and I will accept what comes there after. I put a great deal of time and energy into that decision which is why I seek counsel many times the bigger the decision. I did ultimately decide to stay an engineer. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance while on your journey. Once you make your decision make the most of it thereafter.
Please share a memorable teaching moment.
My mother was kind enough to always tutor me if I had questions regarding academics. This was life long and something that has always stuck with me. I tried today to return this favor to my children. If it is a topic I don’t know, I’m willing to research it to help them develop.
Please share a highlight from your practice/current role.
I am blessed every day to heal others. They put a lot of trust in me and I put a lot of work in for them.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am in awe of what man can do and how resilient the human body is. I am able to go into someone and correct their spine and they can walk and feel better again. This still excites me today.
What do you like and dislike the most about working in healthcare?
I dislike that we can do so much for our patients with such great intentions and still some believe we act out of malice. This is only a few but it doesn’t take many to make it feel like a struggle. On the other side of that coin it is an honor and a pleasure to heal and help others. This by far are the majority of patients who appreciate the work put in.
What are three things that you are grateful for?
I’m grateful for God in my life, my family, and the gift I have been given to heal.
What excites you outside medicine?
The innovations in medicine continue to advance in our health potential continues to improve.
What advice do you have for students interested in healthcare?
This is a labor of love and an industry of service. Keep that in mind.
What do you think the student of today needs to be successful in matriculating and graduating from professional school (medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy)
Focus on the goal of service and helping others. The financial rewards will come once you put the service as a priority.
How would you advise or guide students to develop leadership skills, community outreach experience, research opportunities and clinical shadowing?
Have your resume together. Have your goals together. This would give those interviewing you that you are ready to perform and focused on success. Be timely when you present yourself. Present yourself with the notebook and a pen. Take diligent notes and ask intelligent questions. This can be practiced with a mentor prior to showing up.
How can we support and guide students to achieve good grades and be successful in standardized exams?
Practice is paramount. Identify your weaknesses and work hard to strengthen them. Standardized tests are extremely important. What I think can balance out a standardized test score is a diverse student with multiple quality experiences. If it feels hard to do all of this you’re doing it correctly.