Pediatrician and Co-Owner, East Bay Pediatrics, Oakland, California
I grew up around medicine, so it wasn’t atypical for me to be in a hospital, surrounded by physicians. Because of my upbringing, medicine was a natural choice. The Jim Slotnick Fellowship was a natural choice as well. As a second year medical student, I hadn’t had much experience taking care of patients. This Fellowship allowed me to take care of all kinds of patients. I saw and provided HIV testing to gay men. I provided prenatal care to pregnant teens. I provided medical care to high risk adolescents in Hollywood. It was an amazing opportunity. It gave me a firsthand exposure to medicine. It introduced me to people from all walks of life: homeless teens, pregnant teens, gay men, uninsured working poor and even the diverse population of staff: community health workers, medical assistants, nurses and doctors who tirelessly gave of their services.
I LOVED being a Slotnick fellow. I felt truly needed that summer, and whether I was or wasn’t doesn’t matter because it changed my life forever. It taught me to be open to new people and new experiences. It brought me out of my sheltered life and I became friends with HIV+ gay counselors and transgender teens and homeless kids. It reminded me never to judge a book by its cover. It exposed me to the varied ways I could provide medical care and it earned a small place in my heart. I never saw many of those people again, but I did have an opportunity to return to the Clinic’s Hollywood site as a resident. I again worked in the High Risk Youth Clinic and it reminded me of my special time as a Slotnick Fellow. My love for high risk adolescents started that summer. It has taken me to Children’s Hospital Oakland and into school based youth centers, and it was the foundation on which my career was built.