Jamaal Benjamin, 2012 Graduate Fellow Fellow - University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center
Read a segement from his Career Goals Statement below:
"Even at age six, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. When I relayed this to my Dad, he replied by saying, "Son, that means you have to start working now." At only six years old I did not understand what he meant, but I was certain that a career in medicine was the path for me. As I grew up, the nebulous idea of being a doctor crystallized into a very concrete goal. Instead of simply wanting to be a doctor, my goal now is to become a physician scientist at a large academic medical center who specializes in gastroenterology. Gastroenterology is especially appealing to me for two reasons. First, my brother’s suffering from IBD has highlighted, in a very personal way, how little we understand about the intestine and its microbial inhabitants. Second, the intestinal system represents the major interface between the microbial world and human tissues, and these interactions have always been fascinating to me. Ideally, I envision spending a portion of my time in a clinical setting treating a patients whose ailments would directly benefit from my research experience. The remainder of my time will be spent running a top-notch research lab. I envision the clinical and research pairing creating a dynamic synergy where my research improves my patient care and the patient interaction drives inquiry into important scientific yet clinically relevant questions.
This desire to be a physician scientist has led me to pursue the M.D./Ph.D. degree. The M.D. training will provide me with knowledge of human disease and pathogenesis and will also expose me to areas in which a dearth of basic scientific understanding of disease mechanisms leads to deficiencies in patient treatment options. The Ph.D. training will provide the scientific training and skills required to pursue important and challenging scientific questions. Ultimately, I hope that my research in gastroenterology will promote the development of novel targeted therapeutics for IBD, improving the quality of life for the millions of people who currently suffer from this debilitating disease."