Day in the Life Profile
Each spring, the Medical & Biological Sciences Alumni Association sponsors the Day in the Life Program, which gives current medical students the opportunity to shadow Pritzker alumni in their professional lives during spring break. If you would like to participate in the Day in the Life Program or for more information about other student-alumni programs, please visit the Medical & Biological Sciences Alumni Association.
Paging “Pediatric Dermatologist-Extraordinaire”: A Day in the Life with Dr. Sheila Friedlander, AB’75, MD’79
By Chelsea Dorsey, MSII
My “Day in the Life” experience began immediately with a warm greeting at the airport from pediatric dermatologist-extraordinaire Sheila Friedlander, AB’75, MD’79, her husband, Dr. Marty Friedlander, and their two youngest children. After brief introductions, we all piled into their car and were off to their home in Del Mar, California. As we drove through the beautiful city, I was acutely aware of my overwhelming anticipation of the days to come.
“One of the best and more unexpected parts of my experience was having the opportunity to shadow physicians from a multitude of specialties, including a neurosurgeon, an infectious disease physician, and an ophthalmologist.”
I awoke the next morning to the annoying sound of my cell phone alarm, unsure of why it had decided to go off so early. It all slowly came back to me as I took in my surroundings. Foreign bed…blue, non-overcast sky…San Diego…Dr. Friedlander…Day in the Life! After chatting over a cup of coffee, Dr. Friedlander and I were off to the Scripps Research Institute where she does much of her work on hemangiomas, a congenital vascular malformation. My day was spent sitting in on fascinating research meetings and speaking with the individuals working in the lab regarding the progress of their study. On Tuesday, I shadowed Dr. Friedlander at the University of California at San Diego Children’s Hospital. I went in and out of rooms all day and each time emerged having learned something new.
One of the best and more unexpected parts of my experience was having the opportunity to shadow physicians from a multitude of specialties, including a neurosurgeon, an infectious disease physician, and an ophthalmologist (her husband). In fact, I spent much of Wednesday with Marty. Somehow he convinced a few of his patients to pretend they were coming into the clinic for the first time and I was their new doctor! This was actually quite fun and after taking detailed histories I realized I had learned a great deal of information about some really intriguing cases. Most notable was a woman with a recurring Toxoplasma gondii infection and a family with Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome—all with ocular manifestations. On Thursday, it was back to pediatric dermatology as Dr. Friedlander and I traveled to a small clinic outside the city for a full day of seeing patients. Throughout the day, my appreciation for the field of dermatology grew as I saw how complex each case could get and how astute the physician had to be.
My last dinner with the family was great and looking around at how close they were truly gave me hope for my future. The life of a physician is quite hectic, and a loving and supportive family is undeniably necessary. I left the following evening, but not without spending a few hours on the beach first—it was spring break after all!