Lesley Reid, MD, ’07, a pediatrician at Family Health Center of Kalamazoo in Michigan and a member of the clinical faculty at Western Michigan University School of Medicine, has found work-life balance and personal fulfillment treating the center’s youngest patients. She discovered her interest in caring for underserved populations while working at a health
expo for women as a student at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten.
“Doing clinical work on the island and helping women who wouldn’t otherwise have had access to medical care is where my passion for this work began, and it has carried through my residency and into my current position,” says Reid. “I thought while attending medical school I’d be in a cocoon, but I was amazed at how many opportunities I had.”
Reid’s career path includes her conducting clinical rotations at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, Providence Hospital in Detroit, the University of Toronto, and the University of Western Ontario. She completed her pediatrics residency at Michigan State University in Kalamazoo, Mich. in 2010. In addition to working at the Family Health Center, she is a member of the Clinical Faculty at Western Michigan University School of Medicine.
Learn more about Reid from the interview below.
AUC: Tell me about your current job and the path you took to get there.
Reid: I’m Canadian, so I was on a H1 Visa. I went to an underserved community in St. Croix and practiced a year there to satisfy the immigration requirements. After that, I transferred back to Michigan and started working as a pediatrician at Family Health Center of Battle Creek. Recently, I moved to the counterpart in Kalamazoo and I love it. It is rewarding to see kids bounce back from illness so quickly. Family Health Center of Kalamazoo is never dull. There’s a lot of energy, my colleagues are amazing, and it’s a happy environment to work in.
AUC: What inspired you to become a pediatrician?
Reid: Out of the core rotations I had done at AUC, it was the one I liked the best.
AUC: What made you choose AUC and how did your education help prepare you to work in the field?
Reid: People often don’t realize how important it is to have a good resume when you graduate medical school and match into a residency program. Studying at AUC there were so many opportunities to gain clinical experience. I worked in orphanages and women’s health clinics as well as conducted blood pressure screenings for the local population. I also participated in different clubs and activities on campus. . AUC also provides access to large amounts of research and plenty of support from professors. I published six papers and presented at the International Society of Adolescent Medicine’s Annual Meeting while I was at AUC. Those are the kinds of things employers want to see.
AUC: Was there a particularly memorable or valuable experience?
Reid: I worked at a women’s health expo where patients came for their pap smears and pelvic exams. We diagnosed many sexually transmitted diseases. That was my first experience of doing clinical work from start to finish. Thanks to that experience, I was leaps and bounds ahead of my colleagues when I got to my clinical rotations. I already knew how to use a speculum and diagnose infections.
AUC: What advice do you have for prospective students?
Reid: Think about what kind of student are you. Do you want to have experiences other than studying? Are you a go-getter? If so, AUC might be a good fit for you. AUC is a journey. You can’t cruise through it. You have to be independent, adventurous, ready to live in a different country, and able to study plus get involved in extracurricular opportunities. When you talk to most of the AUC alumni, you get a feel for the type of student who does well at AUC. Most are outgoing and have a passion for their chosen profession. They may have had their ups and downs in previous careers but they are enthusiastic about medicine and passionate about AUC. The school gave us all an opportunity to do what we wanted to do and be successful.