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Resident Spotlight: Dr. Julia Behrend

Resident Spotlight: Dr. Julia Behrend

What prompted your interest in medicine?

Science was always my favorite subject as a kid. In my sophomore year of high school, I took a course called the principles of biomedical sciences. In this class, I dissected a sheep - leading to my love of the heart and cardiology. It was at this point that I shifted my interest from animal medicine to human medicine. I then shadowed and fell in love with the act of caring for humans. I appreciate that medicine is never stagnant and as a doctor I will be constantly evolving and learning new things.

What experiences helped to support your decision to enter the field of pediatrics?

All throughout medical school I loved all specialties and could see myself doing everything. When choosing my specialty, I asked myself “who do I want to be like?” in terms of the doctors that I worked with throughout my rotations. I loved the pediatricians that I worked with and connected with them the best. So, from a medical standpoint I loved all specialities but it was the people and the patients in my pediatric rotation that helped solidify my decision.

Suppose you started over Miami University knowing what you do now. What might you have done differently to prepare yourself for medical school and residency?

It was difficult for me to adapt to college courses my freshman year of college. In high school, I got good grades relatively easily and had to adjust to the rigor level of my college courses. I had a bit of a “can I do this?” moment, but over the four years I was at Miami I learned how to study and what worked best for me. I wish that I would have known that studying is not a “one size fits all” activity. What works for one person may not work for another and that for me, studying was not all about sitting in King library for 5 hours.

Understanding that a life in medicine requires a long journey with many obstacles along the way, what has helped you reassure yourself that medicine is your passion?

My passion for medicine is rooted in the patients. In undergrad and the first couple years of medical school, it can be hard to remind yourself what medicine really looks like because you are just studying - potentially causing burnout. However, for me the clinical experiences drive my passion for medicine. Interacting with other doctors and patients was so much fun for me and made me really appreciate what I was doing. Because I loved these experiences so much, I really tried to have these experiences as much as possible to reassure myself that medicine was truly my passion.

What personal interests and hobbies do you recommend to students at Miami University who are looking to gain more exposure to the field of medicine?

I was in a few different clubs while at Miami University. I was involved in Mallory Wilson Center, which I really enjoyed and strongly recommend to students at Miami who are looking to gain more exposure to the field of medicine. It was the best connection that I had to real physicians and real world experiences that reminded me what medicine truly is. I was also in a club called Global Medical Brigade. Through this club, I traveled to rural areas in South America and set up mini clinics to help the citizens in those communities. The traveling, Spanish speaking, and medical aspects of these trips helped me a lot throughout my journey to becoming a doctor. I was also in the Adopt a School program where I tutored at Talawanda High School and volunteered at the Animal Adoption Foundation, which was a great way to relieve my stress.

What personal interests and hobbies do you enjoy to relax or relieve stress?

Throughout medical school, I watched so many of my peers lose themselves from studying all the time, so managing my stress and relaxing is very important to me. To relieve stress, I enjoy playing the piano, cooking, and baking. In medical school, I turned my love for cooking and baking into a social activity by inviting people over to enjoy the food that I made. I would make a rule that my friends were not allowed to talk about medicine while they were over, which was a great way for us all to relax and remove ourselves from school. It helped us all set the healthy boundary between work, school, and home. Doing this allowed me to do my best at work.

Was there any specific programs or services provided by the Mallory Wilson Center that helped you on your journey to medical school and/or residency?

One of the most helpful programs that I did through the Mallory Wilson Center was when I did a week of shadowing during spring break of my junior year. I was matched with Dr. Walvoord, a pediatric endocrinologist and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Indiana University Medical School. She happened to be teaching a class at the time and brought me to sit in on a

few lectures and interact with the med students. This is what made me want to attend IU for medical school. Meeting Dr. Walvoord through the Mallory Wilson Center not only shaped my career, but shaped my entire life. She has given me so much guidance throughout my journey and I am eternally grateful for both her and the MWC for connecting me to her.