Jessica Lapinski Jessica Lapinski, DO

As family medicine residents, we have the unique opportunity to rotate and work with a wide array of specialists. This is akin to the clinical rotations that medical students go through, though the experience is a bit different given you take more onus for patient care. Additionally, there is less drive to impress people and get a “good grade,” so you see things through a slightly different lens.

For the majority of my rotations, I have enjoyed working with my specialty colleagues and have learned a lot — a tidbit here and there that will allow me to practice full scope, evidence-based family medicine. However, there is one trend that I have noticed and continue to run into: the “talking down” about other specialties.

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Mansi Shah Mansi Shah, MD

It took interviewing in three specialties for me to realize that family medicine was the place for me. I think that ultimately, I would have found purpose and fulfillment in many specialties. However, I am thrilled that I found a home in family medicine. There is a unique joy that comes from caring for people from birth until death and from building relationships with families over time. I feel very fortunate to have been able to pursue my passion for reproductive health by training in abortion care as a resident and, next year, by completing a family medicine obstetrics fellowship.

In the spirit of celebrating family medicine and my journey through medical training, I’d like to share my personal statement from when I applied for residency.

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Ben Garfinkel Ben Garfinkel, PA-S

The plant was passed down to me from a graduating Duke PA student only days after I first arrived in Durham. Its tortuous limbs and countless vibrant green leaves caught my eye. I requested plant care instructions. “Just water it once a week!” she suggested.

I took the plant home and placed it on my desk. Only shortly thereafter, it started to lose leaves. Just a few at first, but soon they started to fall off in droves. The leaves would accumulate on my desk overnight, quickly turning yellow and curling up. I tried adjusting the watering schedule, but the leaves kept falling. I started to feel guilty about the plant. It was in perfect condition when I received it, so why was it dying? What had I done wrong?

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Pooja Parmar Pooja Parmar, CCRP, PA-S

Without hesitation, I happily call the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, often referred to as “The Triangle,” my home. I was born and raised in Raleigh and spent my last two years of high school attending the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham where I grew my thirst for knowledge, which only continued as I completed my undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill. I moved away for a few years, and yet, somehow, I found myself back in Durham working, and shortly after, accepted into the Duke Physician Assistant Program.

After almost seven clinical rotations into my second year of PA school, it feels like an impossible task to take stock of everything that has happened in the last year and half. I have learned more information than I ever imagined possible. The Duke faculty, distinguished guest lecturers, my fellow classmates, and my rotation preceptors have all contributed to my education, and it is now my turn to utilize my education and pass on the benefits to patients I encounter.

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Teah Bayless, DO Teah Bayless, DO

“Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Literally. For many community members this is all too real a hope as they close their eyes. A simple phrase of seemingly well-intentioned nighttime wishes takes on a whole new meaning when you have been a victim of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs do not know the difference between a poor man and a rich one. They know no barriers. 

Over the last decade or so, bed bugs have seen resurgence. It is all too often that our patients have to battle these little pests. Though they are not known to carry disease, the CDC and the EPA have referred to bed bugs as a “public health pest. “ Interestingly, no literature exists on the untold costs associated with bed bug infestations — inability to receive care due to inability to get transportation, declines in health status due to inability to get needed services in the home to retard deterioration of a patient’s condition, emotional turmoil, and social isolation associated with bed bugs — to name a few items.  And as this continues to be an issue across the United States and in our local community, being aware of the risk and especially to the risk of vulnerable populations is a must. Instead of cringing and just adding “bed bug infestation” to the problem list, we (as medical teams) must ask ourselves how we can help without creating health care disparities. 

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