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Childhood: I grew up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, population about 5,000. I had 38 students in my high school graduating class, yet I always knew that I wanted to become a doctor. At age 15, I realized that I wanted to actually become a surgeon, and once I set my sights on that goal, I never looked back.
Training: I attended college at Misericordia University, a small liberal arts college in northeastern Pennsylvania I majored in biology and chemistry and then went on to receive a master’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Scranton. After that, I attended Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia and completed my surgical residency in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee. Subsequently, I completed a fellowship in trauma and critical care at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C. Several years later, I was presented with the opportunity to become the director of trauma and critical care at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and join the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. I spent 19 years at Grady and three years ago, I was recruited to come to the Department of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine.
Current role: My title is Chief of Surgery at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital and I am responsible for clinical operations and quality for all the divisions within our department
Best part of her job: The most gratifying thing about my role is the opportunity to care for patients. I truly appreciate them.
On mentoring: The reality is, most of us need some help to get where we want to be. Mentors can be so beneficial in that regard—and they come in all shapes and sizes. Being a mentor means being a role model, advising and critiquing those who need guidance. For me, being a mentor is a way of giving back.
Advice for success: Bring your own talents to the table, be prepared to work hard and be authentic. Focus on your goals. Being a physician is a precious and wonderful privilege. To serve the sick and help heal when at all possible, these are important points to live by and they transcend generations.
By Sarah Burns