“My dad has mice at work!” proudly exclaimed Sarah to her classmates. Future Dr. Sarah J. Lewis (@sarahjlewis9) was in elementary school. Her dad, now retired heart and cardiovascular pathologist Dr. William Lewis, had a research lab (featuring mouse models) focused on mitochondrial DNA replication in disease and the diverse effects of toxins on mitochondria structure and function. “I remember him teaching my sister and I about the mitochondria and also showing us heart biopsies on the multi-headed scope,” Sarah recalled. She also has fond memories of getting his trays of slides for him in his office when she was off from school. However, one memory isn’t so pleasant. “I was in fourth or fifth grade and I went to an autopsy my dad was teaching to medical students. I almost passed out from the formalin!”
Though her father introduced her to medicine at a young age, he never pressured her to go into pathology. Sarah told us, “Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a doctor and be involved with medicine and science. I was pre-med in undergrad but interested in chemistry and research, too. After doing research in a biochemistry lab for two years, I still wanted to pursue medicine. Pathology was always in the back of my mind when I started medical school. When I started at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine-Georgia (PCOM), my father introduced me to residents in his department's program who were DOs and I got involved with my school's pathology interest group (read about PathSIG here). I never found anything I enjoyed as a career during my third-year clinical rotations. As soon as I started pathology electives during my fourth year, I knew I was where I was meant to be.”
Thankful for her father’s support during medical school, Sarah told us, “My dad has been my biggest supporter and person to vent to about everything happening during my time at PCOM. He would always tell me about his struggles in medical school when I was struggling. For practical exams, he offered to be my practice patient. We would talk about my clinical rotations and what he liked about different specialties when he was a student. He has always been supportive of my pathology interest and rotations and it was nice to be able to talk to someone about day-to-day occurrences during the fourth year when I did mostly pathology and forensic pathology rotations.”
A fresh DO ‘22 graduate, Dr. Sarah J. Lewis matched at her first-choice institution, Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. “My dad was my number one supporter during my residency application cycle. It was nice to have someone who understood what I was going through.” With her father’s unwavering support and guidance (plus just being an awesome dad!) Sarah Lewis achieved her dream of becoming a doctor. As she begins residency at Tulane, her path to pathology is sure to bring a newfound love for the specialty and continued admiration for her dad.
Newly minted Dr. Sarah J. Lewis gets hooded by her father, Dr. William Lewis.
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