I was a Classics and Biochemistry Major at Bowdoin, and after graduation worked for two years doing research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. From there, I went on to University of Massachusetts Medical School. I found that my background in Classics was surprisingly helpful in the medical world–many of the names for body parts and diseases are directly based on Latin and Greek. Studying for anatomy tests seemed easier because I was able to connect the words I had learned in Classics to the words and structures I needed to memorize. After graduating from medical school, I completed my residency training in Family Medicine at the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency in Lawrence, MA. The community in Lawrence is majority Latino immigrants, and the clinic population is about 80% Spanish-speakers. I did not speak Spanish prior to my arrival, but again found that my background in Latin was extremely helpful. After the first year my Spanish was passable, and now I consider myself quite good at Spanish (especially in a medical setting). Last year I studied for and passed the American Board of Addiction Medicine certification exam, and so am now double-board certified in Family and Addiction Medicine. I work at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center as a busy primary-care doctor who also provides office-based addiction treamtment, and also work at a methadone clinic one day a week fighting the opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts.
Every day at work I am faced with patients in distress–whether physical or mental, and I think my Classics education has helped me understand the human condition. It also helped me learn TWO entirely new languages–Spanish, and Medical English!