Sarah Lieber - Class of '15
Sarah was born and raised in Los Angeles before venturing east to study
English literature at Yale. She soon discovered biological anthropology and
shifted her focus to reproductive ecology and bioenergetics, inspiring what
would become a lifelong commitment to women’s health. In addition to
volunteering in a hospital pediatric unit and promoting local ethnographic
efforts, she combined her love for reproductive ecology and women’s health
in an interdisciplinary project on the role of ghrelin in fertility at the
Yale School of Medicine. Following her graduation from college, she
continued to explore her interest in women’s health, spending a year at the
National Cancer Institute helping to describe prolactin receptor isoform
expression in breast cancer. She then attended Harvard Medical School,
where she was introduced to rheumatology in her second year, marking the
beginning of her growing fascination with systemic autoimmune disease.
While in medical school, she studied the use of web-based intervention to
improve physical activity and overall wellbeing in women and served as a
premedical advisor to Harvard undergraduates and recent graduates and later
as a preceptor to Harvard medical students in a year-long course on the
Throughout medical school, Sarah spent significant time at BIDMC and knew
that she would thrive as an internal medicine resident in the warm,
supportive environment and culture of intellectual curiosity that she had
come to love as a medical student, having identified numerous early role
models among the house staff, fellows, and attendings at BIDMC. As a
resident, Sarah has benefited from immersive internal medicine training and
embraced her intended subspecialty of rheumatology, studying clinical
characteristics and outcomes in synovial fluid culture-negative septic
arthritis under the guidance of thoughtful mentors, remaining interested in
women’s health and systemic autoimmune disease. She values helping to
educate the next generation of medical students and has participated in
quality improvement initiatives and served on the hospital-wide Ethics
Advisory Committee as a house officer. As an honorary New Englander, she
enjoys visiting local museums and historic sites and still appreciates
season changes, which have not lost their luster. Sarah is currently in her
first year of rheumatology fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery
in New York and will return to BIDMC for the 2016 - 2017 academic year to
serve as an inpatient chief medical resident.
Jonah Cohen, MD - Class of `14
Jonah was born in a small town in upstate New York, and moved to Rhode
Island to attend Brown University for college where he was part of Brown's
eight-year medical program. As an undergraduate, Jonah majored in the
Visual Arts in addition to the pre-med coursework. He took classes at the
Rhode Island School of Design as well as in Florence, Italy, where his
artwork focused on painting and drawing. While in college, he became
increasingly interested in writing and performing music. Thus, after
graduation, he moved to Boston where he produced several albums of original
music and toured nationally playing shows at various colleges and club
Jonah returned to Brown for medical school where he developed a passion for
cancer biology, teaching, as well as research. Following his second-year in
medical school, he moved to Bethesda, Maryland to live at the National
Institutes of Health sponsored by a fellowship from the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute. There, he worked in the lab of Dr. Carter Van Waes
studying mechanisms of tumorigenesis and targeted therapies in
aerodigestive squamous cell carcinomas. He finished his medical studies at
Brown and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism honor
Following graduation, Jonah completed a categorical internship in General
Surgery at the Brigham and Women's Hospital with initial plans to pursue a
career in surgical oncology. However, during his surgical training, he
realized that the field of Internal Medicine offered more opportunities for
his areas of interest. He chose the BIDMC Internal Medicine Residency
because of the program's unique culture of outstanding training, resident
camaraderie, as well as the emphasis on teaching, research, and quality
improvement. Jonah is currently a Fellow in Gastroenterology and Hepatology
at BIDMC with an interest in therapeutic endoscopy. Outside of the
hospital, Jonah enjoys spending time with his wife Elizabeth and son Noah,
running, cooking and playing music.
Mary Linton Peters, MD - Class of `14
My path to medicine was not direct, but fortunately it brought me to BIDMC and to this wonderful program. I'm originally from South Carolina, but have lived in Boston for almost 20 years and consider it my second home. I came here for college, studying Biology and French Literature at MIT. I enjoyed the intellectual balance of literature and lab work during college, and now appreciate the irony of having a BS in Humanities. After graduation I moved to California and studied medical decision making at Stanford, intending to pursue a career in health policy. One summer I took an internship at a local strategy consulting firm. This unforeseen opportunity turned into a wonderful career. Strategic Decisions Group focuses on using the tools of decision analysis to support strategy setting in a variety of high-risk, high-reward industries. I found my niche in life sciences, and went on to develop tools in portfolio management, early-stage R&D strategy, and business development. I worked around the world, building a client base that included global pharmaceutical firms as well as venture-funded biotechs. I was elected to partnership, discovering the unique challenge of being responsible not only for supervising and managing a team, but also bringing in business. I was fortunate to work with smart, talented, highly committed colleagues who taught me an enormous amount. As much as I enjoyed this work, one late night on a plane trip home I started to ask myself if this was the career I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. How else could I contribute? How could I craft a life that was both fulfilling and exciting, challenging and rewarding?
Medicine was the clear answer. Not long after that mid-flight epiphany, I found myself trading in business suits and frequent flyer status for textbooks and anatomy lab. (I'll admit I miss the status every time I fly home.) I attended U Mass Medical School, and during my time there was fortunate to find mentors in both clinical medicine and research to help me further define my interests. It was a great gift to become a student once again, and to appreciate the rich set of skills a physician must develop. When I arrived as an intern at BIDMC I was constantly impressed by the combination of compassion and intellectual rigor represented by the residents and faculty. Every person on the team, including nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, social workers, case managers, physicians of every discipline and stage of training, and in particular patients, are ready to teach.
After completing my residency in internal medicine, I was fortunate to stay at BIDMC for hematology/oncology fellowship. During residency I started two research projects in hepatocellular carcinoma that I am continuing and expanding as part of my fellowship research. One project compares the decision-making process, perceptions of prognosis, and end-of-life care preferences between hepatocellular carcinoma patients and patients with end-stage liver disease. I hope to continue this research into health outcomes and decision making within medical oncology as part of my future career. Not many people have the chance to pursue their dreams in the middle of their lives, and not many have the benefit of so much support. Each night I go home to Cambridge to my brilliant husband, a variety of dying plants, and a collection of far too many books, grateful for the chance to be a part of this community.
Elliot Tapper, MD - Class of `12
I was born in Winnipeg, Canada and made my way to the USA to study biology and political theory at the University of Chicago. While I was there, I got bit by the research bug, surprisingly if not glamorously, while analyzing hormone metabolites in squirrel poop. I went to directly medical school at Emory where my particular interests in medicine and research started to take shape.
Early on, I met a dyspneic patient with end-stage liver disease and portopulmonary hypertension. She would later walk out of the hospital with a transplant and never look back, making me fall in love with the liver. I published my first paper on our institution's experience with her condition and quickly found that research was an invaluable way to learn deeply about our patients and their conditions. As a third year, I sat in on a hepatobiliary disease management conference that involved surgeons, radiologists and pathologists. What I saw made me interested in studying the way that teamwork creates a product worth more for patients than the sum of each of our shared experiences. I went on to report in a series of papers how this conference improved outcomes for patients with liver cysts, pancreatic cancer, and pancreatitis.
So when I was looking for residency that would support my goals and shared my interests, I immediately learned that the BI was a place where I could thrive. The focus on continuous quality improvement, track record of encouraging resident scholarship, generally supportive atmosphere and rich history were extremely attractive. Truthfully, though, BI had me at M&M - 8am on my interview day . I had never before witnessed such a dynamic, intense yet collegial, evidence-based discussion focused on improving patient-care processes. It was inspiring. I was thrilled to match at BI and the years since have been the most meaningful and productive of my life.
People have told me that it's often hard to find a good mentor. I found four, each of whom has been amazing. And the research opportunities they've made available are the stuff out of which I could make a career. My research here has had three major themes. I have been involved with outcomes and quality. I developed a quality-care checklist to standardize rounds on the liver service and we're tracking outcomes. I'm also looking at our institution's outcomes with a multidisciplinary liver tumor board. I've looked at the role of investigational techniques in liver disease including a computerized method of biopsy evaluation and a modified ultrasound probe that is used to noninvasively determine fibrosis. Finally, I even got into the lab, developing a mouse model for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. With these experiences, I've presented at national conferences every year of residency and continue to publish. Looking forward, I feel secure that I've acquired the tools needed to found a solid career in academic medicine.
Obviously, though, there's more than research here at BI. Above all, the people - I look forward to coming to the hospital every day. My co-residents are some of the funniest, smartest, most supportive people I've met. The patients are diverse, challenging, compelling and fun at the same time. And because of the firm system - always having ward months on the same floor - I've really enjoyed being part of a team with the same nurses and other staff. Based on what learned here, I feel prepared for anything.
Looking back, I would do it all over again. After graduation, I stayed on as a Chief Resident and Fellow in Gastroenterology. My chief year was spectacular. Now I am completing my general GI fellowship before starting in transplant hepatology. I continue to work on outcomes research and quality improvement. I continue to love it here.