In her new blog published on KevinMD, Dr. Melanie Heniff discusses the challenges that come along with her impressive workload as a full-time physician and part-time law student, and she explores how her interests in law have followed her throughout her professional career. She writes, “I genuinely still love medicine, but I have had a sincere interest in law since undergrad…I considered an MD/JD path, but at age 20, that was just too much to commit to…” Melanie remained interested in the interconnection between law and medicine throughout her time as a resident and later as an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine, mentioning that “most of [her] teaching efforts as an emergency medicine faculty physician have focused on legal topics.” She also provides peer support to physicians “from all specialties from all around the country” as they go through malpractice lawsuits. Melanie notes, “[w]e really need people with both an MD and JD who can speak the languages of medicine and law and can apply that knowledge to work for change in our flawed legal and health care systems.”
Keep reading below to check out a Q&A with Melanie and find links to her blog post on KevinMD.
Did you have a mentor who influenced you at some point in your professional journey? If so, how?
My most significant mentor is Greg Moore, MD, JD. Greg also completed law school while working full time as a faculty physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He brought back what he learned in law school to teach residents and colleagues about areas of law applicable to emergency medicine. Greg continues to frequently publish on medical legal topics and teaches around the country at residency programs and national conferences.
How do you see your experiences in law school benefiting your work as an emergency physician, now and/or in the future?
Law and medicine are interconnected in many ways so I think having expertise in both will be beneficial as I hope to combine a practice of emergency medicine with health law consulting. Of course I plan to continue teaching too.
If you could give one piece of advice to young professionals building their career, what would it be?
Academically and professionally pursue what genuinely interests, excites and challenges you the most; that will make the whole process fun and rewarding.
Click here to read Melanie’s blog post, “Doctor by day, law student by night” on KevinMD.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Emmy Schram is the Communications Coordinator for the Department of Emergency Medicine. She earned her MA in English from Ball State where she taught English Composition while working as a freelance graphic/web designer. She brings with her varied professional experiences which she uses to support departmental communications efforts while finding new ways to combine her passions for marketing and education.