Thursday, June 11, 2015

UAB Women in Medicine: Alicia Waters, M.D.

Q&A With Alicia Waters 

Alicia Waters is a general surgeon resident from Enterprise, Alabama, and a member of the Young Supporters Board of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011.

What inspired you to go into the medical field?
I would say initially it was studying anatomy and the pathology of different diseases. I’ve been intrigued by that ever since I started studying it years ago.For the last two years I’ve been doing research alongside Dr. Elizabeth Beierle of Children’s Hospital through a T32 research fellowship. At UAB, you have the option of doing research for two years, and then returning to complete your residency. I’ve always been very interested in research, so I’m grateful for this opportunity. My research ended about two weeks ago, so I will come back as a resident shortly.

Can you tell me a little more about your research and what it led to?
Dr. Beierle and I were looking at different therapeutics for solid organ tumors. Specifically, novel therapeutic options. Two novel therapies that we have been studying are the use of oncolytic Herpes Simplex virus and a synthetic rexinoid, both of which were developed here at UAB. Both have shown promising preliminary results. What I like about being involved in research is being a part of translating into full treatments. Being a part of that process is rewarding. 

What’s your favorite part of being a part of the Young Supporters Board? 
For me, it’s good to see the non-medicine side to everything, especially in terms of family care and how we treat the patient. As a doctor, I don’t get to see that very much of how we utilize the bench to bedside approach. I was sponsored to join the board by Dr. [Yancey] Gillespie and this is my very first year on it, but I definitely plan to continue serving on it. 

What is your ultimate personal goal?
I want to be a pediatric surgeon. Eventually I would like to focus on oncology, specifically. 

What advice do you have for girls interested in pursuing a career in the medical field?  
The all-nighters and endless studying is worth it when you earn the “Dr.” in front of your name, and you know that everything you do is working toward improving people’s lives. Knowing that someone will have a better life because of something I’m working on is a feeling I can’t really describe. As a woman, you will often be the minority when it comes to working in medicine, but don’t let this discourage you from pursuing exactly what you want.

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