Why did I decide to become a pediatrician? The idea first occurred to me when I was in sixth or seventh grade. My pediatrician was Dr. Williams, the son of the famous poet and physician, William Carlos Williams.
I was extremely upset after I went and saw his partner, Dr. Martin, who told me that I could not attend a slumber party because my sore throat was contagious. He gave me the bad news in a tone which I thought was too matter-of-fact and uncaring. “Clearly,” I thought, “he does not realize the importance of this event in my life because if he did, he would be more understanding and help me so I can go.” As I left the office, I came to the immediate conclusion that I could be a much better pediatrician, obviously thinking that bedside manner was equally important as clinical ability. That was the moment that the seed to become a pediatrician was planted and that seed grew as I continued through school.
My family was always in the business of helping people. My mother was a social worker, and many family members were teachers and lawyers. I had always liked science and had enjoyed helping people by volunteering in the Girl Scouts, school, church and other organizations. Medicine was a natural fit for me.
I remember thinking even back then, that becoming a physician would allow me to help people in a variety of ways. I don’t think I ever planned to practice medicine for the rest of my life. In the back of my mind, I think I always knew it would be a springboard for other ways for me to make a difference. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed helping my patients, but always knew that I could make a difference on a larger scale outside the realm of my medical practice.
You may be asking yourself, “How could she stop being a doctor after all those years of training?” I will always be a pediatrician. I am just channeling my skills and passion in different ways. After years of talking to teens and young adults, I saw a need and knew I was the person to fill that need.
Through Dr. Liz Consulting, I serve as youth consultant to organizations that serve teens, schools, and universities and develop workshops for teens, young adults and parents. I connect with youth in ways that leave them empowered and able to see the gifts and talents that they can contribute to the world.
Life has many twists and turns. We all have our unique gifts and “that thing” that we are passionate about and constantly calls us. It often takes a leap of faith to honor that calling. I took that leap and look forward to seeing where that leads me.