( continued from page 7 ) face of medicine for the better .
Father : My career spans 30 years , and in that time many things have changed including but not limited to reimbursement systems , EMR and value-based health care . From a urology point-of-view , the transition from open to minimally invasive options means better patient outcomes and quality-of-life , shorter hospital stays with faster recovery and overall reduced cost to the health care system .
IS MEDICINE STILL A GOOD CAREER CHOICE ?
Grandfather : Absolutely . Being a physician has been the most fulfilling career , and I would do it all over again . The joy I get from interacting with patients is unmatched . I ’ m happy to be the first physician in my family , and my hope is that I have gained the respect from near and dear .
Father : Yes ! I ’ ve never second guessed my decision .
AS A VETERAN PHYSICIAN AND ACADEMIC , WHAT GOALS HAVE YOU SET AT THIS STAGE OF YOUR CAREER ?
Father : My goal is to help mentor future urologists and turn medical students into practicing physicians ; that ’ s priceless to me . My experience immigrating to the U . S . and navigating surgical training was not easy . But I ’ m lucky that people took a chance and gave me an opportunity .
WHAT LEGACY DO YOU ENVISION FOR YOUR FAMILY AND THIS GENERATION OF MEDICAL STUDENTS ?
Grandfather : I ’ m very excited for the future generations . I want this legacy to continue ; I feel my grandchildren are the new torchbearers . My message to future students is that medicine is the best form of service to mankind .
Father : My father was a great general practitioner who paved the way for me not only to become a doctor but also an educator . I call upon the young generation to take the challenge of educating the physicians of tomorrow .
Just as my grandfather influenced my father to enter medicine , my father influenced me . I knew from the age of five that I wanted to be a doctor . My earliest memories of medicine are watching robotic surgeries with my dad , visiting him in the hospital when he was on call and even dressing up in scrubs for Halloween . Now , preparing to graduate medical school , I will join a privileged and talented community dedicated to delivering high-quality care . Along with a feeling of hope , I am anxious about the future demands of the field , navigating complex health care infrastructure , the educational costs that burden aspiring doctors and the ever more expensive treatments for patients .
Every generation of doctors will grapple with unique issues . My grandfather confronted polio outbreaks ; my father contended with the AIDS epidemic , and today we struggle to find a solution to level COVID-19 . As I spoke with my grandfather and father , a theme in our conversations emerged . Medical training is rooted in more than diagnosing and treating a patient based upon the symptoms they present . It is equally important for physicians to closely connect with patients and consider the social determinants of health that encompass their physical and mental well-being . With the accelerating changes in academia , my hope is that this new cohort is equipped with a deep sense of awareness and empathy . The changing health care landscape has produced a generation of medical students not only committed to embracing innovation but prioritizing mental health and dismantling racism in medical education . I have gleaned wisdom from the lessons my grandfather and father have passed down , but I must also advocate for solutions to contemporary challenges .
The question for me , as the third generation in a family of physicians , is where is my place in medicine ? As I select my specialty , I reflect on how my identity is shaped by unique factors . I ’ m a woman in medicine and the daughter of immigrants , and I aspire to be the first radiologist in the family . Although the journey to donning the white coat has looked different for my grandfather , father and me , we are linked by our optimism for the future of medical education and dedication to patient advocacy . I am proud to be part of this legacy of service and hope to honor my family name .
Akhila Ankem is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine .
8 LOUISVILLE MEDICINE