Cesar Mares ’22 — This summer, I am one of four students to participate in the junior medical school student internship with alumnus Sean Blackwell ’89 and the UTHealth McGovern Medical School in Houston. Each week, we rotate through a different department within the OB/GYN practice in both hospital and clinical settings. Rotations have included week-long stints in the Resident Clinic, Fetal Center, Obstetrics (labor and delivery) and Gynecology.

The OB/GYN practice is truly hybrid. It provides a steady balance of surgeries, patient visits and office work. I’ve witnessed a number of noteworthy surgeries performed by high risk fetal intervention specialists in the Fetal Center such as laser ablation surgery to treat Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and a fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO) to treat a fetus with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. During my time here, numerous doctors have suggested pursuing surgery. While doctors will always be in demand, technological advances hint at a future where regular and uncomplicated patient care is completely digital. Outside of the OR, physicians effectively communicate diagnoses and treatments to their patients and fellow colleagues. Doctors provide the best care to their patients by practicing evidence-based medicine. Research reports, data charts and the most up-to-date statistics decorate the walls of the resident lounge. Attendings continuously praise residents who speak with numbers and research-supported facts. But patient care extends beyond the numbers.

Physicians who serve in a diverse city such as Houston must be culturally competent. Societal habits and cultural norms are regularly mentioned in safety meetings and discussed with patients. Good doctors adopt a holistic approach with each patient. More importantly, good doctors love their craft. They are lifelong students of science and technique. Becoming a physician is not easy. The emotional and physical demands of this career are unappealing. Residency is by no means glamorous. Despite all of these things, every doctor I’ve encountered so far would not give up their job for anything. This internship has reinforced my decision to pursue medicine. On a much deeper level, my experiences here have reignited a desire to practice medicine in underserved populations.