Graduate Profile: Tamar Weinberger, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
A common spirit runs throughout Yeshiva University: the mandate to matter.
Students of all ages and backgrounds come here to pursue a range of professional and personal dreams, from scientific research and medicine to law, Jewish education or public policy. Our students seek to harness their unique talents and YU education to make a lasting impact on the world around them. This spring, when they graduate from YU, these new alumni will hit the ground running.
In the weeks leading up to Commencement, YU News will feature one remarkable graduate from each school, reflecting, in their own words, on their time here, their passions and their dreams for the future.
Meet the Class of 2013.
Name: Tamar Weinberger
Hometown: Woodmere, NY
Passion: Pediatric medicine
I chose medicine because I saw it as an opportunity to combine my love for science with my desire to contribute to patient care. I also enjoy the academic challenge medicine presents: being confronted with myriad signs and symptoms, deducing a differential diagnosis and effectively diagnosing and treating a disease is a challenging and rewarding endeavor.
I’m hoping to become a pediatrician, although I may still specialize further within that field. I love not only the patient population but the way care is provided to children. Pediatricians fine-tune their treatments to the needs and emotional development of the child, whether that means using smaller test tubes, having extended visiting hours and accommodations so families can stay overnight, or drawing on incredible patience and understanding when interacting with patients. I also really like the science of pediatrics and the disease processes involved.
It is also a rewarding field because children have a greater tendency to bounce back quickly and you really see the impact your diagnosis and treatment can have. In one case, a child came to our emergency room in a lot of pain, complaining his ear hurt. After completing a thorough history and physical I diagnosed him with acute otitis media [ear infection] and the team prescribed the appropriate antibiotic. Two days later in clinic that same child was cheerfully bouncing around the waiting room, and when he spotted me across the room he ran over excitedly and offered me a gumball. While I accepted his token of appreciation, watching that transformation—from sick and in pain to happy and healthy—was my real reward.
How has the Anne Scheiber Scholarship helped in launching your medical career?
I had always thought about pursuing a career in medicine and one of the reasons I decided to attend Stern College for Women for my undergraduate studies was because I had heard about the Anne Scheiber Scholarship. The scholarship awards up to full tuition for Stern graduates pursuing medicine at Einstein. Yeshiva University helped me fulfill my passion for medicine by alleviating much of the financial burden. It also made me feel supported and believed in. Someone out there thought it was important for religious woman to achieve this goal and the message was “You can do it, we’ll help you.”
Einstein offered me an excellent education coupled with a great Jewish community and support system on campus. It also allowed me to work with a unique and very underserved patient population. The school is situated in the Bronx, where there are residents of various religious and cultural backgrounds, often of very little means. I had to learn to understand how my patients’ perceptions and feelings about medicine and treatment were influenced by their backgrounds and find solutions that would work in their specific situations, both financially and culturally.
Einstein also made it easier for me to study medicine because it’s respectful of my religious beliefs—we’re excused from all clinical duties on Shabbos and Yom Tov. It also offers a very family-friendly environment, which is great because my husband and I are both in school here and we have two children. The deans were accommodating about my schedule and some of my friends decelerated when they had children.
Have you had any mentors along the way who made an impact on you?
Dr. Miriam Schechter, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein, is a big role model for me. She’s very motivated—we don’t know how she gets everything she does done, but she always has a smile on her face and seems to have enough time and energy for all her students and patients. No matter what’s on her plate, she focuses on you. She’s an amazing teacher and clinician and extremely caring and dedicated.
Was there a moment that really changed the way you looked at medicine?
Doctors are lifelong learners and every day I learn something new. But my first clerkship year helped shaped the way I viewed medicine as a whole. Once we were on rounds discussing a very sick patient and we just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. This went on for almost a week while we went through diagnosis after diagnosis and the patient was only growing sicker. Each day the attending physician came in with stacks of articles relating to the patient that she had spent countless hours at home researching. Not only was she spending the day taking care of her patients at the hospital, but she continued working on this case at home afterward. When I pointed this out to her she responded genuinely, “If it was my brother this is what I’d want his doctor to be doing.” It just clicked for me that medicine is about unconditional devotion, responsibility and support—treating your patients like family. That influences the way I care for my own patients.