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For the purpose of the article, Dr. Grace Hundley, Dr. Terry
Hundley and Will Hundley will all be referred to by first
Internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of
Medicine in Mobile, Alabama is a Hundley family affair. Terry
Jerome Hundley (T.J.), M.D., FACP, serves as an Assistant Professor
of Medicine and Director of the Internal Medicine Clerkship. His
wife, Grace Hundley, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine, and
teaches courses on pediatrics as well as internal medicine. T.J.'s
younger brother, Will Hundley, is also a fourth year medical
student at University of South Alabama College of Medicine, and is
pursuing a residency in internal medicine.
Treating People throughout Their Spectrum of
Grace Hundley was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama and has lived
there her whole life. She was always interested in going into
medicine and jokes about memories of telling her mother from the
time that she was two years old that she was going to be a doctor
when she grew up. In college she decided that she really liked
internal medicine because of the interaction she had with people
and the ability to make a difference in someone's life. She and
T.J. met while attending the University of South Alabama as
undergraduate students. Grace went into medical school with the
intent to go into pediatrics since her cousin is a pediatrician in
"While doing my internal medicine rotation, the resident
physician that I worked with specialized in internal medicine and
pediatrics, and that was the first that I had ever heard of
specializing in both disciplines," said Grace. When she did her
pediatrics rotation, she had the opportunity to work with the same
resident physician, and again was exposed to specializing in
internal medicine and pediatrics. "I decided I wanted to take care
of people throughout their whole spectrum of life, from the newborn
baby all the way to the grandmother, and specializing in internal
medicine and pediatrics would allow me to do this," said Grace.
"The most rewarding part of internal medicine is when you have a
patient come to you who is very ill and you are able to make a big
difference, even if it's just relieving pain in a cancer patient
and improving that patient's quality of life," she said.
Being the Detective
Internal medicine had not been T.J.'s initial choice as an
undergraduate student. He can recall vividly the day that he
decided to be an internal medicine physician. During his sophomore
year, T.J. attended a local Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-professional
honor society meeting where a local internist came and spoke about
his experience in the field and how he used detective work in order
to diagnose one patient's illness.
"At that moment, I thought to myself this is exactly what I want
to do. I wanted to dig through the information and be the
detective," said T.J. Throughout the rest of his rotations, T.J.
kept coming back to internal medicine because he wanted to address
the patient as a whole.
In his role as the Associate Program Director and Clerkship
Director of Internal Medicine, T.J. is in charge of setting up the
curriculum, lectures, rotation schedules, monitoring students'
grades, and making sure at the end of the twelve week rotation that
the students really understand internal medicine. What he enjoys
most about teaching is being able to watch the residents and
medical students grow from their first days as medical students to
the point where they go out into the world as the next generations
"When I started as an intern if you would have told me this is
where I would be today, I would have laughed because I had always
seen myself going into private practice," said T.J. of his teaching
When T.J. was a resident he realized one of things that he most
enjoyed about his work was sitting down with the students and
teaching them about the stages of diseases. As T.J. progressed on
to become an upper level resident he transitioned to teaching both
students and interns. At the end of his residency he came to the
realization that he couldn't imagine himself without teaching as
part of his career. After his residency, the Department of Internal
Medicine at South Alabama offered T.J. a position as chief medicine
resident which gave him a full year to decide if teaching was what
he actually wanted to do. T.J. gladly accepted the position, and
over the course of the year realized he loved teaching even more
than he thought originally. He then accepted a position as faculty
and the role of IM Clerkship Director.
Since the school is fairly small, the Hundley's often run into
each other. Grace and T.J. joke that it is impossible not to run
into each other since their offices are located just four doors
from one another.
The couple divides their time between teaching, seeing patients
and spending time with their two young children. They both believe
that finding a balance between work and home life is essential.
"The academic calendar allows for a lot of flexibility with our
schedules so if one of the kids has an activity that we want to
attend we can easily rearrange our schedules so that we can make
it," said. T.J.
Grace echoes that sentiment: "Internal medicine in general gives
you an opportunity to find that work/ life balance because there
are so many practice opportunities available in internal medicine,
from being a clinic based physician to a hospitalist, there is
something in the field that will fit everyone's lifestyle," she
Internal Medicine as a Family Affair
As IM Clerkship Director, T.J. had the pleasure of teaching his
younger brother Will, now a fourth year student at South Alabama,
during his rotation in internal medicine. T.J interacts with his
brother while serving as the Faculty Advisor for the Internal
Medicine Interest Group where Will serves as the president. T.J.
admits that it became humorous when his brother was elected as
president of the group because that's when jokes started around the
medical school about the Hundley internal medicine family affair.
Will laughs that he has the nice advantage of being able to pick up
his cell phone and call T.J. rather than waiting for him to answer
While T.J. jokes that he isn't certain his career in medicine
had an impact on his brother's decision to go to medical school, he
does believe Will gets a unique insight into the day to day
experience of teaching and practicing medicine.
"Although it may have seemed like an obvious choice that I
decided to go into internal medicine because my brother did, that
was not the case. I went into medical school completely clueless of
what path I wanted to choose," said Will. During the beginning of
his medical school rotations, Will thought that he would like to go
into pediatrics but soon realized what he loved about pediatrics
was the primary care aspect. Similar to his brother, Will has
always loved solving problems and detective work. Internal medicine
fulfilled his "inner sleuth", allowing him to solve the mystery of
his patients' diagnoses.
For Will, there are definitely benefits of having relatives in
the field. He admits that being a medical student at the University
of South Alabama College of Medicine and having the last name
Hundley often starts a lot of conversations around faculty members
and other students but he doesn't mind. He always has someone to
discuss residency questions with and a knowledgeable expert to
bounce ideas off of. "It is almost like having two extra advisors,"
Will said of having his sister-in-law and brother as faculty.
March 2011 Issue of IMpact
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