Career Journey from Physician to Law Student


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Abayomi Jones, M.D., J.D. (candidate), discusses her career journey from her practice as a physician to her decision to enter law school as a first year student in 2021 with a goal of addressing policies that contribute to health inequities.


Discussion Questions

  • Many of us, at one point, wanted to be doctors when we grew up. Doctors are one of the few highly respected professionals with whom almost all of us have contact. What careers have you considered? What made you consider that career? Did you have a role model? What do you want out of your career?
  • Dr. Jones eloquently describes what being a doctor means to her. What changes occurred that impacted her ability to carrying out her work in the way she wanted? What are the sources of those changes?
  • Dr. Jones describes environmental factors that impact health outcomes, but were beyond her control as a physician. What are some of those factors? How might becoming a lawyer allow her to alter some of those factors?
  • Dr. Jones made the decision to start law school 15 years after becoming a physician. This kind of change takes courage. How would you think about a career change? What would be some reasons to consider a new direction? How do you think your family and friends would respond?
  • The stereotypical image of a lawyer just being an attorney who defends cases in a courtroom is phasing out. How do you see the law being applicable to how healthcare is practiced or delivered? In what areas of everyday life can lawyers work to bring about real-life change?

Selected Resources

Catherine Pattanayak, Joan Ruttenberg, and Annelise Eaton, Health Law: A Career Guide, https://hls.harvard.edu/content/uploads/2015/07/2012HealthLaw.pdf

Nancy De Lew, George Greenberg, and Kraig Kinchen, A layman’s guide to the U.S. health care system, Health Care Financing Review 14(1): 151-169 (1992), available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4193322

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Social Determinants of Health, https://health.gov/healthypeople/priority-areas/social-determinants-health

National Academies of Health, Communities in Action : Pathways to Health Equity, available at https://nap.nationalacademies.org/read/24624/chapter/1

Robert Pettignano, MD, Lisa Radtke Bliss, and Sylvia Caley, The Health Law Partnership: A Medical-Legal Partnership Strategically Designed to Provide a Coordinated Approach to Public Health Legal Services, Education, Advocacy, Evaluation, Research and Scholarship, 35 J. Legal Med. 57–79 (2014).

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