Physicians at St. Jude share the inspiration behind their clinical careers

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On National Doctors’ Day Wednesday, March 30, physicians at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will be honored for their leadership and devotion to patient care.

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Ga., on the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery. The United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day on March 30, 1958. In 1990, legislation was introduced into the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate to establish a National Doctors, Day. The first National Doctors' Day was celebrated in 1991. The red carnation has become the symbol of Doctors’ Day because it denotes the qualities of love, charity, sacrifice, bravery and courage.

In celebration of this day, a few of the hospital’s many dedicated physicians shared on video and in words their early memories and the personal experiences that inspired them to enter the medical field.

What inspired you to become a physician?

Sima Jeha, M.D.

“When I was a teenager, I was inspired by the Doctors Without Borders organization. By going into the field of medicine, I could volunteer time to provide help into places that were under-privileged or suffering through disasters. At that age, my vision was that surgery was the ultimate life-saving specialty. I went to medical school at the American University of Beirut with the idea of being a surgeon, but during my surgery rotation, I felt that I wanted more interaction with patients. I began a pediatrics rotation and became very interested in oncology. The chief resident who trained me got me interested in how challenging the field of oncology was and all of the areas where improvements and new discoveries could be made. I came to the United States for my fellowship because there was no pediatric oncology training in the Middle East at that time. I still keep a map in my office from Doctors Without Borders, a group I never got the opportunity to join. However, the International Outreach Program at St. Jude has a mission similar to my original dream because we go all over the world, we help children with cancer and we train physicians across the globe.”

Daniel Green, M.D.
Epidemiology and Cancer Control

“I wanted to become a physician because I had a desire to help people. As a student, I was good in science and math, and it just seemed like a good way to marry those two. My undergraduate degree was in electrical engineering, and it was about halfway through my college education that I realized that I wanted to work more directly with people and in a profession that would improve their lives. Helping people is the most satisfying part for me and one of the things I look forward to the most is the ACT clinic I have each Tuesday morning. In a way, seeing patients is what provides the impetus to do the research. I look forward to coming to work each day. What it means for me is being able to help children in the future be able to receive successful treatment with fewer long-term side effects.”

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