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Dr. Lisa Bernstein has been fortunate to have been influenced by
several mentors over the course of her medical career. She was
first inspired to become a doctor by her father, Dr. Arnold
Bernstein who had a successful career as a practicing gynecologic
oncologist, the Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and OB-GYN
Residency Director at Georgia Baptist Hospital (now Atlanta Medical
Center). He exemplified to his daughter how rewarding a career in
medicine could be. "As the head of a residency program and a trail
blazer in his profession, he showed me that you could care for
patients and teach future doctors, all with warmth and a sense of
When Dr. Bernstein entered medical school at the Medical College
of Georgia (MCG), she intended to go into pediatrics or obstetrics
and gynecology. However, after working with Dr. Rhee Fincher, the
Medicine Clerkship Director and Director of the clinical skills
course at MCG, she found herself drawn toward internal medicine.
Dr. Fincher showed Dr. Bernstein that as an internist she could not
only care for patients when they are sick but also focus on
prevention. "I love developing long-term relationships with my
Dr. Bernstein with her husband, Jay Silverman, and their two
sons, Aaron, age seven, and Daniel, age three.
During her internal medicine residency at the Emory University
School of Medicine, Dr. Bernstein was fortunate to have Dr. Joyce
Doyle as her advisor. Dr. Doyle was an excellent role model and had
a profound impact on Dr. Bernstein's ultimate decision to pursue a
career in academic medicine. Dr. Doyle personified the career that
Dr. Bernstein aspired to have, one that balanced teaching, patient
care and research with time for family. It was Dr. Doyle that first
encouraged Dr. Bernstein to continue on at Emory after her
residency as a faculty member: "She identified my talent and love
After joining the faculty, Dr. Bernstein was honored when Dr.
William Branch, the chief of the Emory Division of General
Medicine, approached her about teaching the "Clinical Methods"
course for the medical students. "He ignited my passion for
teaching clinical skills to medical students and residents and set
me on the career trajectory I have been fortunate to have thus
As an associate professor of medicine, Dr. Bernstein divides her
time between teaching and advising medical students at the Emory
and seeing patients and teaching residents at Grady Memorial
Hospital. When Emory decided to restructure their medical school
curriculum, Dr. Bernstein became co-director of the "Becoming a
Doctor" curriculum--a cutting-edge umbrella course that begins the
moment students enter medical school and finishes at the end of
their fourth year. The course is taught initially in a small group
setting, and focuses on problem-based learning and acquisition of
clinical skills. The students meet twice a week and learn
everything from patient-doctor communication and physical
examination skills to medical decision-making and ethics. "Being
co-director of the course offers me the opportunity to collaborate
with both scientists and clinicians on the faculty that I wouldn't
get the chance to work with otherwise."
Dr. Bernstein has found her 14-year career in Emory's Department
of Medicine to be extremely rewarding and has been recognized by
her students and peers for her achievements. Among the many honors
and awards that she has received, she was awarded the J. Willis
Hurst Bedside Teaching Award from the Georgia Chapter of the
American College of Physicians, the Evangeline Papageorge
Distinguished Teaching Award from the Emory University School of
Medicine, and, most recently, the Herbert S. Waxman Award for
Outstanding Student Educator this year from the national ACP.
Just as she has benefitted from the mentorship of many
inspirational physicians, Dr. Bernstein is proud to now be an
educator and mentor for the next generation of doctors. "Seeing the
medical students transform from lay people to confident,
compassionate physicians" is one of the greatest parts of her job.
She gives medical students who are pursuing a residency in internal
medicine the advice to "find an aspect of internal medicine that
works for you, because it is a field that has something for
everyone." She also stresses the importance of having a work-life
balance to the students and residents that she teaches because
being a well-rounded person makes them better, more compassionate
doctors. In her free time, Dr. Bernstein enjoys spending time with
her husband Jay Silverman and their two sons, Aaron, age seven, and
Daniel, age three.
June 2012 Issue of IMpact
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