Courtney Harris, MD, FACP
Mass General Brigham, PGY-7 (third-year transplant infectious disease [ID] fellow)
Why did you choose internal medicine?
I chose internal medicine (IM) and, subsequently, ID because I love complex cases with multiorgan involvement where taking a thorough history and physical exam and combing through medical records leads you to a diagnosis! I grew up a huge reader loving mystery books so this fits me perfectly.
What lesson(s) did you learn in residency that can help you for the rest of your career?
I learned so many things—I think a few highlights include:
- Always take the time to sit down, listen to patients’ concerns, and understand what they are most concerned about. Too frequently, we don’t address what is troubling them most.
- When someone on your care team (intern, nurse, or other team member) is nervous or worried about the patient, stop and address the concerns. I love the phrase that no one should every worry alone.
- Always schedule time in your day to learn one thing about a condition you are seeing and then teach it to someone else; make sure to catalog these every day. I use OneNote for teaching pearls!
What are your plans for after fellowship? What factors or advice from mentors contributed to your decision?
I just accepted my first job as a transplant ID physician after my fellowship; I’ll be the transplant ID fellowship program director. I’ve gleaned a lot of great advice from amazing mentors! First, I absolutely encourage doing a chief year if you are interested in leadership in the future. It was a crash course on managing people and time—and I greatly benefited from it! Second, don’t choose an institution for training based on the name; choose it based on mentors who believe in your career vision and commit to helping you reach your goals! Third, get involved in your society organizations like ACP! Networking has led to many great connections that have opened the doors to job interviews and collaborations.
How has being a member of ACP helped you in your professional life? What resources have been most helpful to you?
ACP has been instrumental in helping me meet physicians from all over the United States who have graciously shared their career paths, mentorship, and educational resources. In residency, I helped create a council of residents and fellows in my state, and it led our IM programs to regularly meet and discuss; we got great ideas of initiatives at other programs we wouldn’t have otherwise (especially during the start of the pandemic). Now, being involved in the national Council of Resident/Fellow Members has let me contribute my ideas while learning about all of the incredible ACP resources—including the online POCUS modules, the Core IM podcast, and the Annals of Internal Medicine “In the Clinic” series.