Delia Lee, MPH, MD
MD/MPH combined degree program/Generalist (2011).
What attracted you to the field of public health?
I had been planning on going to medical school to become a physician. During the year I was applying to medical school, I had read about some potential Arkansas legislation to discontinue the recording of students’ BMIs, and I wanted to learn more about how those kinds of public health interventions were developed and implemented, particularly in my own community.
What is your current job title and place of employment?
I’m a third-year resident physician in the combined internal medicine-geriatrics residency program at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI.
How would you describe a typical work day?
I am in postgraduate medical training, so I am typically providing adult patient care either in the hospital or the clinic, but there are also educational activities and lectures that I attend. As I am particularly interested in geriatrics, I feel especially lucky to be in my program because of the continuity of the dedicated geriatrics experiences through the entire duration of my training.
What is your advice for students considering a similar career path?
Explore your interests. Even if you have a definite plan, exploring other things is a growth experience and can lead to more opportunities.
What experiences or learning gained at UAMS or elsewhere have you found most beneficial professionally or helped you qualify for what you do?
Clinically, my geriatrics rotation in Northwest Arkansas during my third year of medical school solidified my interest in caring for elders. I was even able to incorporate that geriatrics experience into my MPH preceptorship. I enjoyed completing the MD/MPH concurrently because I could integrate the concepts I was learning in both disciplines. Plus, when the medical coursework got stressful, I could then switch to doing my public health assignments, and vice versa.
What do you find most rewarding about your work in public health?
Right now I’m still in residency training to become an internist and geriatrician, so in my day-to-day life, I focus on the care of individual patients. However, I recognize that each of my patients is a reflection of a population of people whose health is influenced by a variety of other factors. With my public health background, I am able to view the big picture of a patient’s health as a function of both individual characteristics and community influence.