Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

What called you to medicine?


Physicians identify the opportunity to help others as a universal theme.

Passion in the Medical Profession | July 13, 2018 | <1 min read


Margaret Chisolm, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

It was a desire to serve others that compelled me—over four decades ago—to decline a highly coveted offer to attend NYU’s Cinema Studies graduate program to pursue a career in healthcare.


Initially, I wanted to be a nurse midwife, but when I discovered, given my art degree, that I would have to take the same number of post-bac courses to prepare me for nursing school as I would for medical school, I opted to try for medical school, since I preferred chemistry and physics to social sciences, with the goal of becoming an obstetrician/gynecologist.


Once in medical school, I found I preferred psychiatry to ob/gyn, as psychiatry gave me the opportunity to serve some of the most neglected individuals in our society.


In 2006, my interests finally converged when, coming full circle, I began working at the Hopkins Center for Addiction and Pregnancy. There I enjoyed a mixture of both specialties and the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable and stigmatized population in healthcare: women who continue to use drugs while pregnant. It is only more recently—when reading the work of Paul Farmer—that I realized there’s a name for this call to serve the most underserved in our society: the preferential option for the poor. It is one of the basic principles of the Catholic social teaching and, in retrospect, it is this call that originally pulled me and now pushes me to continue to work on behalf of the most marginalized individuals in our communities.

Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I feel I was born with a constant desire for understanding, a deep-rooted need to be creative, and a joy in working with a team.  In time, I found myself drawn to healers, the most familiar and fundamental profession that encompasses these values. The calling didn’t stop once I joined medicine; it continues to adapt and grow the more I see medicine’s limits and its potentials. The calling is a life-long journey.

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William Greenough, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I felt that medicine best combined my interest in science, desire to improve the condition of underserved folks globally, curiosity to discover new ways to diagnose and treat illnesses, and to combine my interest in with working with people directly. It has been all and more than I could have hoped for after these 60 years since I received my MD!

Laura Hanyok, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Simply being able to use science to care for, and hopefully improve the lives of, individual people.

Mike Fingerhood, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

As a young child, I went to my doctor frequently with asthma and severe allergies. My pediatrician always spent time explaining the science to me, rather than talking just to my parent. He piqued my interest in medicine and by the time I was ten years old, I wanted to be a physician.