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Listen to Your Mother

May 14, 2023
by Mark David Siegel

A Mother's Day Message

Hi everyone:

My mom claims that even as a baby, I looked like a doctor. She was like a lot of Jewish mothers back then, presuming medical careers for their children well before they had a say in the matter (or anything else).

It was not until my junior year in college that I contemplated other options, like becoming a history professor. The idea gained no traction at home, and history quickly became history.

At 19, I had no concept of academic medicine, that I might help unravel the mysteries of physiology, share stories of life and death, lead residents through their training, ask fundamental questions about the purpose of medicine, or hear the last words of a dying man as I did last week in the ICU.

I doubt Mom realized any of this either, but she saw a future in me well before I could see it in myself, and in many ways that remains true today.

In the coming weeks, many of you will be applying to fellowship and general medicine jobs. You will write personal statements describing your dreams and the contributions you hope to make. Some of you will try to answer scientific questions and others will focus on developing advanced clinical skills. For most of you, it will be both. At this point in your journey, you can’t possibly know the exact direction your career will take, but you should commit to a path that leads to purpose and joy. As you set out, I encourage you to remain open to the notion that those who love you most may see your destination well before you can see it yourself.

Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and a Happy Mother’s Day,


What I’m reading: Want to Make Your Mom Happy? Tell Her She was Right.

P.S. I’ll be spending the upcoming week on my annual personal retreat in Acadia National Park. I plan to do lots of reading, writing, and hiking (and I promise to call my mom every day). Pics to follow next week.

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on May 14, 2023