Tola Emiola ’14, Baylor College of Medicine

Every day at the Baylor School of Medicine internship with Dr. Debra Palazzi ’92 started bright and early at 9 am. Her positive and energetic manner more than made up for the early start. On the first day, she asked my fellow intern, Ajibike, and I why we wanted to be doctors. Then she told us her story and how she came to work at the esteemed Houston Texas Medical center. We spent the days rounding, which takes a lot more energy than one would think walking to the different corners of the gigantic hospital. We also managed to attend two conferences, one on the cross between infectious disease and orthopedics and another on Neglected Tropical diseases.

In addition to Dr. Palazzi, Infectious Disease fellow Dr. Chase also accompanied us and was a great resource. He explained every case to us, even with our limited knowledge, in a way that we understood. Sometimes, I felt that he was helping me study for my EEB 211 exam. They both really took time to make sure that we understood what we were seeing and what were the decisions being made.

One of the most interesting parts of the internship was actually witnessing a “meeting of the minds.” I never knew how collaborative medicine was. For one case, there was a boy, about eleven years old, who had had cancer. He was now showing signs that it had returned and was present in his leg. Four doctors, his oncologist, another oncologist, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Palazzi, the Infectious Disease specialist, all met to discuss this little boy’s case and how to progress. I learned from this experience, what I am not sure a lot of pre-med students know, that it is extremely important to be able to work on a team and also to be a good communicator as a physician. Discussing whether or not to amputate a leg requires respect for one’s colleagues, good listening skills, and the ability to express oneself clearly.

Tola, Dr. Deb Palazzi, fellow Princetern Ajibike, and Dr. Chase

Overall I found my three days very pleasant and informative. I discovered how creative one must be to be a pediatrician, how collaborative the medical field is, and how creative people who work with children have to be. Dr. Palazzi and Dr. Chase were a pleasure, and I hope to share their passion for their job one day when I become a physician.