I.M. a Resident: Haidn Foster, MD

Haidn Foster, MD

Haidn Foster, MD
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center,
Internal Medicine Residency, PGY2

Why did you choose internal medicine?

The breadth of training in internal medicine (IM) empowers residents with the ability to diagnose and manage diseases affecting every organ system. That comprehensive fund of knowledge is why I view IM physicians as the real “doctors’ doctors.” I also strongly believe that to become an excellent IM subspecialist, one should first be an excellent IM physician. So, I was motivated to become the best IM doctor I could be as I work toward my goal of becoming a hematologist/oncologist and palliative care physician.

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

As a medical student, I was fortunate to quickly learn the value of centering humanism and advocacy in how I approached the practice of medicine. Among the first things we study as future doctors is the molecular underpinnings of health and disease; so, early in training, it’s easy to think of patients as a collection of biochemical pathways and organ systems and lose sight of the whole person in front of you who exists within a broader context of social and structural determinants of health. I’m grateful that as a medical student and resident, however, I’ve had people surrounding me who modeled both deeply humanistic care and a drive to reform the systems that hold patients back from achieving their optimal state of health.

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?

After residency, I plan to pursue fellowships in hematology/oncology and hospice and palliative medicine. I’ve seen how a cancer diagnosis can change someone’s life in an instant. In that moment, I want to be able to provide my patients with whatever care they need—from a palliative-informed approach to curative therapy, to evidence-based hospice treatment, to something in-between.

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

The aspects of ACP membership that are most meaningful to me are the connections I’ve made with exceptional peers and mentors in IM and its subspecialties, the privilege of representing IM residents and fellows on the national stage, and the opportunity to help shape ACP’s policies on public health and health care. This organization has given me a space to learn, grow, and connect, and I’d recommend all IM trainees join ACP and discover how this organization can help you meet your goals.