In this episode, Ryan talks with Dr. Faye Reiff-Pasarew of The Art of Medicine Podcast. Faye is an artist by heart but seeing that being a physician was the best fit for her career-wise and it was something she would see herself doing day in and day out, she decided to dive into the world of medicine where she is currently a 3rd-year internal medicine resident at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Her podcast is amazing (we’re playing a clip of it at the beginning of this episode) where she is able to creatively integrate her two passions – art and medicine. Ryan was initially blown away by the quality of her podcast which is no wonder why it landed the number one spot on the iTunes’ New & Noteworthy for a number of weeks. But there is so much more to that. Listen in to follow her amazing nontraditional path to medicine and learn from her artful experiences.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Faye:
Faye’s nontraditional path to medicine:
- Her interest in creative writing and theater
- Her first two years of college studying English and French literature and writing and theater
- Discovering she wasn’t enjoying by the middle of her 2nd year
- Switched her major to international development focusing on African development particularly women’s health
- Traveling and doing research on women’s public health in Africa for several months
- Traveling to Vietnam and South Africa
Her thought process for switching majors:
- Studying what you enjoy doing but not thinking what career you’re going to end up with it
- The difference between doing something and wanting to do a job that studying that thing leads to
- Assessing what characteristics of the job would she be enjoying day in and day out for a long time
- Her first exposure to medicine was doing public health research in Camaron and seeing deliveries and medical procedures
- Considering nursing focused on public health or a public health degree but realizing nothing is going to be the same as being the doctor
- Deciding to take a post bac program
Taking the postbac program and applying to medical school:
- Applying to an organized postbac program at Bryn Mawr – Philadelphia, where she had to live there for two years but changed her mind again and decided not to push through
- Moving to Brooklyn with her friends, taking her postbac classes at Brooklyn College, and finishing the rest at NYU
- Working at Planned Parenthood in New York for a year while applying to medical school and ended up going to University of California – San Francisco
Tips in doing your extracurriculars:
- Don’t overthink it too much. You might find yourself strategizing something and realizing it’s not something you want to do.
- Go and do something you are passionate about.
- Do what you think you will enjoy. It’s not about checking the boxes on your application.
- Doing the things you love help you figure out who you are and they make you a full person and a better person in whatever field you’re in
Things that drew her to Mt. Sinai:
- Doing her internal medicine residency at Mt. Sinai, New York
- Amazing palliative care program
- FlexMed program
- Academy for Medicine and Humanities where there is a intersection between arts and science
- Missing the humanities side of things and finding a way to combine it with her medical work
- Getting involved with The Academy at Mt. Sinai
- Teaching a narrative medicine class – stories about the human experience of health
- Using her previous radio background along with her love for humanities and podcast as the perfect media to show the intersection between medicine and the humanities
- Interviewing interesting people doing great things on the fringes of art and medicine
Medicine as less flexible:
- Technology as getting in the way of human connection
- The importance of retaining human connection
- Looking at health and illness from the perspective of patients, historians, and artists
Links and Other Resources:
Email Faye at firstname.lastname@example.org
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