Who I Am

This blog came about not because I’m an expert on wellness or being a physician, but because I’m a teacher. I’m a Professor of Surgery at Tulane School of Medicine and a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.

I’m involved in education on a day to day basis in my clinical work. I’ve also had the privilege of learning more about medical education as a Program Director for General Surgery, Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Surgery, and as a Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs during my time at Baylor College of Medicine.

I started this blog for three reasons.

First, I wanted a place to share information about how to really succeed in medical school and residency – not just academically, but personally as well.

The second reason I started this website was to publish a “tool kit” of specific ways to incorporate exercise, better nutrition, stress reduction, spiritual support, and other wellness habits into busy schedules. The faculty, residents and students I work with struggle with how to find time to take care of themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. (So do I, by the way!)… but there are techniques and strategies that can help all of us move closer to the goal of being fit, happy, and fulfilled.

The third, and maybe most important reason I started this blog was to have a way to talk about the joy of practicing medicine.  We are in a difficult time of transition in medicine, a time where it can be difficult to remember the meaning and purpose of this work. I hope sharing a little inspiration from time to time will  be a good antidote for those days we feel overwhelmed…

As I’ve thought about, studied, and written about the epidemic of burnout in medicine, I started to wonder if we might be dealing with a “spiritual deficit disorder” in medicine. Put a different way, as the practice of medicine has become more “corporate”, we’ve somehow been separated from the meaning of our work. Could that actually be an important part of the moral distress that leads to burnout? In order to better answer these questions and be better equipped to heal healers, I recently finished a Master of Divinity degree at Iliff School of Theology.

For information you might hear in the surgeon’s lounge (or in graduate school!) follow me on Twitter @drmlb

I welcome guest posts, especially from medical students and residents.  Please contact me if you are interested!

Disclaimer:   Anything on this blog represents my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of my employers or my school.

Mary L. Brandt, MD, MDiv