Name that Woman Trailblazer: She was a professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and an internationally recognized scientist whose groundbreaking cancer research is considered among the greatest advances in treating breast cancer. She pioneered the development of aromatase inhibitors, which are now considered among the most important contributions toward treating estrogen-driven breast cancer.
WOMAN OF THE WEEK
Meet Dr. Marisa Lois 👋
Hi, I’m Marisa!
I am a Chilean-American, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I have a B.S. in mathematics, and instead of going into accounting/finance as my career (which I tried for 6 months and hated), I ended up attending Ross University medical school on the Caribbean island of Dominica.
During my medical training, I moved across the country and lived in several different cities such as Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, & Miami, FL.
For my specialty residency training in Emergency Medicine, I moved to Ponce, Puerto Rico and lived there for 3 years, which was certainly the prettiest location! Now I get asked by my patients and nurses if I am from Puerto Rico because some say I have a Puerto Rican accent ;).
Finally, after 7 years, I have finished all of my training and am currently practicing in El Paso, TX. I never thought I would live in TX but my husband and I are really liking it so far!
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and, of course, eating delicious food!
🔗 Want to connect with Marisa? Say “hi” on Instagram.
TOGETHER WITH SUNSAMA
All You Do is Win, Win, Win — No Matter What
Some weeks, your to-do list is overflowing with tasks .
Other weeks, you may be straight chillen’ 😎 (and probably feeling guilty that you’re not super busy).
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Q: How did you get into your current role/industry?
A: I’m sure you have all heard before when there’s one doctor in the family, there’s usually more — well, it is true!
I have several family members including my father, sister, aunts, cousins, who are all in different fields of medicine. But I am the only one who chose Emergency Medicine. When I was little, I used to play with my father’s medical tools, and always inquire about the procedures he would have to go and do. I also enjoyed the show ER and the variety of patients George Clooney treated and took care of.
So when I was trying to choose my specialty, I chose Emergency Medicine because of the work-lifestyle balance, the variety of procedures, the energy of the ED, and the teamwork necessary to treat everyone, especially as they all come in at once!
You just never know what will be coming in through those doors, so you need to be ready at all times. It’s exciting, nerve-racking and frustrating all at the same time!
Q: What’s something you do to help boost your productivity?
A: At work, I have to mentally triage all of my patients (the most ill to the less ill) and it’s sometimes hard to have to deal with several different patients who are critically ill at the same time.
But what helps me to be productive is checking in on my patients, asking my nurses for help, writing little notes of the things I have to do in case I get interrupted when a very sick patient comes in and needs my immediate help.
Also, having snacks in my pocket for boost of energy and coffee at my desk always helps 😉.
Q: How do you find work-life balance?
A: To tell you the truth, it’s been hard through the years, especially with all of my schooling, studying for certification exams, moving around, long shift hours, and having very limited vacation time while in school/training.
But, now that I am done with training and am practicing, I have more free time!
What I tried to do is prioritize what I really needed to do whether that was studying for an upcoming exam, or if I was very stressed out I would just take a break and go do something I enjoy then go back to studying. Taking breaks really helped!
Also, having such a supporting and loving husband, family, and friends who are always there for me whenever I need them is extremely helpful!
Q: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve received so far?
A: During my residency in emergency medicine, there were lots of “first time” doing things, whether it was putting a dislocated shoulder in the correct position, running a code (aka cardiac arrest), or even placing stitches for a complicated cut. And of course I was nervous about it all even though I had studied and practiced on mannequins countless times.
But the best piece of advice was, to just go and do it, because that is the only way to get over your fear. The more times I was able to do it, the more comfortable I felt, and the easier it was for me teach it to the other residents (obviously I wasn’t afraid anymore).
So now whenever certain things come in that I was previously afraid of, I am more relaxed and prepared to deal with it.
Q: What’s your favorite software or app that helps with your workflow?
A: When I have other things outside of the hospital I need to do, I like to use both the Reminders and iCalendar apps on my iPhone to help me organize and remind myself of any departments meetings, upcoming exams, or any training sessions.
For the non-medicine readers, one of my all time favorite books is Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. It’s about two scuba diver explorers who try to solve a mystery of a sunken ship. It’s got adventure and mystery, so what’s not to like about it?
Q: What do you like to do in your free time outside of work?
A: After a few shifts in a row, I truly look forward to sleeping in, then waking up with a cup of coffee and sitting on the couch with a blanket. It’s just so nice not to wake up to an alarm!
Also on my days off, I love to spend time with my husband and go on last minute road trips to nearby areas, watch movies, visit family/friends, eat delicious food, go to the beach (only in Cali though since sadly there isn’t a beach in El Paso), going golfing (which is still new for me) and traveling abroad.
I can’t wait for our upcoming trip to the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta!
TOGETHER WITH TRAVELPERK
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BLESSINGS IN LESSONS
Good things take time
I was very nervous before I moved to Puerto Rico for my residency training because I knew some Spanish, but I wouldn’t call myself “fluent”.
For the first couple of months, I had a tough time trying to understand the patients, medical terminology, and communicating with other specialties. However, after the first year of forcing myself to practice more Spanish, learning from the other physicians, residents, nurses, and my patients, I felt more comfortable speaking Spanish and especially medical Spanish terminology.
What helped me? Stepping back and reminding myself that many other people, including my father, moved to the US and learned English in their first year on the job.
So when it comes to myself, I knew that it would happen with time, so long as I stick with it.
Give yourself grace — you’re not going to be good at something new right away, it takes time!
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