I.M. a Resident: Ariel Jordan, MD

Ariel Jordan MD

Ariel Jordan, MD
University of Michigan
Third year, internal medicine residency

In which program year of residency are you currently in?

Third year of internal medicine residency at the University of Michigan.

Why did you choose internal medicine?

I chose internal medicine because it allows me the space to be intellectually curious. Given the vastness of the field, there is always new knowledge to acquire, granting me the opportunity to be a devoted lifelong learner. I also love the long-term relationships I build with my patients and the ability to care for them in a variety of settings, further enhancing that trust between patient and provider.

What lesson(s) did you learn in residency that can help you for the rest of your career?

  1. The trust between a patient and their provider goes a long way in shaping a patient’s view of the health care system and improving their quality of care. I have patients in my resident continuity clinic who were previously rarely coming to appointments, but—through the relationship we have built—I have been able to help them make significant positive strides toward better health.
  2. Always be your patient’s advocate: you may be their only one. I’ve dedicated my career to patient advocacy work on multiple levels, but—as providers—it is everyone’s responsibility to identify not only the medical needs of our patients but also how outside factors affect their health (my continuity clinic preceptor, Dr. Brent Williams, calls these factors the “seven domains of health”; others call them the social determinants of health). This is a concept that holds true regardless of specialty.

What are your plans for after residency? Are you becoming a chief, going into fellowship, or starting as an attending? What factors or advice from mentors contributed to your decision?

I will be starting gastroenterology fellowship in the NIH T32 position at the University of Michigan this coming July. I have known I wanted to become a gastroenterologist with a focus on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) since my third year of medical school when I advocated for the passage of the Restroom Access Act in the state of Georgia. This law provides restroom access at public facilities with an onsite toilet to individuals with medical conditions requiring emergent bathroom access, one of which is IBD. As an IBD patient myself, I look forward to using my position as a physician to care for and advocate for this community in a variety of ways.

One of my long-term mentors, Dr. Jami Kinnucan, is a gastroenterologist who is very involved in the IBD community and through sponsorship has helped me gain various positions through the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Over the last 3 years, I have served professionally as a member of the Government and Industry Affairs Committee, as a co-chair of the Professional Membership Committee, and in a patient role as a national advocacy leader. This year, I have been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Michigan Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation where I will be able to serve my local IBD community. One of my other mentors, Dr. Peter Higgins, is a prominent IBD researcher who helped me learn about careers in research and how I can pair my ongoing advocacy work in the community with my research, becoming a gastroenterologist–health services researcher with a focus on IBD who impacts health policy at the local and national level, which has become my career goal. This is how I came to pursue T32 research fellow positions in my search for a fellowship program.

How has being a member of ACP helped you in your professional life? What resources have been most helpful to you?

Being a member of ACP has allowed me countless networking opportunities through the local Michigan ACP Chapter conference and the national ACP conference. Also, ACP has always been incredibly supportive of my professional journey, awarding me the 2019–2020 ACP Outstanding Student in Volunteerism and Advocacy Award for my advocacy work on the Restroom Access Act as a third-year medical student and, most recently this past April, the 2022–2023 ACP Joseph E. Johnson Leadership Award for all of my efforts as an advocacy champion for the IBD patient community and beyond. The support of ACP is truly unmatched!