Dr. Janice Newsome, mother of Olivia Newsome (GHF ‘18) and doctor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, came to talk to the Global Health Fellows in mid November about her journey into the medical field. Now an Interventional Radiologist at Emory, the path Dr. Newsome took towards her current career is unlike many we have previously heard. She was born in a poor community in Jamaica and was raised by a group of nuns from her community. At age 14, she moved to New York City and entered into a public school system extremely different from the one she had left. In Jamaica she was deemed “smart”, therefore she had focused on math and science classes and it was assumed that she would go into a similar career. Once in New York, she applied to the gifted program at school, not knowing if she was considered gifted or not, and was accepted into the more advanced public school system. After high school, she went through the 6 year undergraduate and medical school program at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She then continues with residency at VCU and a fellowship at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She worked at a few different hospitals before landing at Emory University as a doctor and a teacher.
Interventional Radiology is a recently added specialty, as is usually had fallen as a subspecialty of Radiology. These radiologists perform diagnostic procedures, treat obstructions and bleeding, perform procedures to avoid surgery and treat cancers, just to name a few. Dr. Newsome not only performs procedures, but also is constantly thinking of innovative ways to advance her field. She has five ongoing project designs for devices that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of procedures. One of those projects is a bio convertible filter for patients whose blood will not clot properly. Typically the patient would have the filter inserted and then removed at a later date through another procedure. Dr. Newsome’s design would eliminate this second procedure, as the device would dissolve on its own. She works with a team of engineers to put her ideas into action and is preparing to present some of her new innovations at the Georgia Tech Capstone Design Expo this December. As well as working at the hospital, Dr. Newsome leads and mentors a group of Interventional Radiology fellows. Ever since she was a little girl in Jamaica, she gravitated toward teaching people anything and everything, and that passion still has not gone away. She believes that being able to share your knowledge and experience with others is a valuable skill and finds this part of her job to be extremely fulfilling.
Throughout her talk, Dr. Newsome reminded us to follow through with our passions, even if obstacles may stand in the way and to take advantage of all opportunities. She dedicated herself to what she loves and it has lead her to be a innovative and progressive leader in her field. Dr. Newsome remains grateful for the opportunities she was given on her own path to Emory and ended her presentation to us with the reminder: “To whom much is given, much is required.”