While teaching, Lilian developed a love for inspiring students and gaining a deeper understanding of their lives. The challenges they faced prevented many of her students from succeeding at school and she was eager to help. Her work on TFA’s staff gave her insight into the vast alumni network and all of the different opportunities to stay connected and continue to develop your career. She believes the role of a physician is to educate. Though the scenario is different-—working one-on-one instead of in a classroom—effective communication is crucial. Patients and families should be able to demonstrate understanding of their condition and their treatment. Her commitment to working in areas that lack access to health care was directly influenced by her work with students in a high-need community.
Q & A
Education is a large part of my work as a pediatrician. I teach families how to take care of their health in ways they can understand. Our clinics have white boards so we can draw for visual learners, we give printouts for patients to take home, and I differentiate my communication approach for each family and check for understanding at the end of an appointment.
It inspired me to work toward equity through the lens of medicine. Like I did in the corps, I plan to work in underserved and low-resource areas where physicians are needed most. I currently spend a portion of my time working in rural Alaska to help patients in areas that have limited access to health care.
After high school, I planned to go into research. During junior year, a public health study abroad program in South Africa showed me that I wanted to help people more directly. Teaching allowed me to do this while pursuing my passion for science, inspiring students and helping to fill a need for science teachers.