Imagine studying, training and eventually working at the same institution during the span of your career. A special group of physicians, faculty members, researchers and staff at Baylor College of Medicine have had this unique experience.
Dr. Felicia Skelton-Dudley, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor, tells us how training and working at Baylor has impacted her life and career.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to study medicine?
A: According to my parents, yes. I told them I wanted to be a physician when I was five years old, and it just stuck.
Q: Where and when did your journey with Baylor College of Medicine start?
A: It started in 2001, when I was a junior in high school at Klein Forest here in Houston. We took a field trip to Baylor – I remember the fountain and the anatomy lab. I made a promise to myself that I’d be back. I started medical school here in 2006.
Q: What inspired you to continue studying at Baylor?
A: Houston is home for me, and Baylor is one of the world-class intuitions that serves our community.
Q: How did you become interested in the specialty you are currently practicing?
A: There was a time during my undergraduate education that I questioned whether medicine was the right fit for me. Some of my shadowing experiences left me with a negative perception of the physician-patient encounter. As a neuroscience major, I’ve always been interested in the nervous system. I was less interested in the minutia of neurotransmitters and synapses, and more interested on how those interactions let people move, think, and perceive.
I talked with my counselor about my concerns and interests, and he led me to looking into physiatry. I had never heard of the field before, but when I learned how holistic, collaborative, and patient-centered the field was, I knew that was the type of medicine I’d enjoy practicing.
Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
A: Do not take responsibility for problems you aren’t given the authority to solve.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?
A: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.
Q: If you could do something differently, what would it be?
A: I’m thankful for every peak and valley in my journey — changing something would alter where I am today, and I’m satisfied with where I am now.
Q: What do you think makes Baylor unique?
A: As an institution, Baylor can feel very big and global but personal and local at the same time.
Q: Do you have advice for current medical students or health science trainees?
A: Your path in medicine is not going to look like the person’s next to you, and that’s OK. Run your own race.
Q: How has sticking with Baylor programs and ultimately becoming a faculty member impacted your life and career?
A: The mentoring connections I made during medical school were directly related to me coming back to complete my clinical fellowship at Baylor after residency, which led to my postdoctoral research fellowship at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. The fellowship gave me the ability to secure career development funding and my current faculty position.
Q: Do you have a mantra? If so, what is it?
A: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” — Maya Angelou
Read more from the Growing Up Baylor series.
Learn about the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor.