By Travis Clines
Dr. Patricia DeLaMora had intended to be a veterinarian when she came to Binghamton University. Instead, she found medicine — specifically pediatrics — to be her career.
“I really liked that continuity of care. I liked seeing people grow up,” said DeLaMora, an associate attending pediatrician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “I didn’t want to see a patient just once then never see them again.”
The Dec. 4 talk given by DeLaMora ’95, was part of “A Day in the Life of…” speaker series sponsored by the Harpur College Dean’s Office, Harpur Edge and the Pre-Health Professions Advising.
Beyond practicing medicine, DeLaMora is an associate professor of pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Her specialty is with infectious diseases, an interest that began with a textbook, used for one of her classes at Binghamton, called New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People.
“This was definitely a turning-point book for me in terms of what I wanted to do,” she said. “It was the first book that I read that really introduced me to infectious disease.”
After graduating from Binghamton University, DeLaMora gained her doctorate from New York Medical College before going on to complete her residencies at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College. She warned that what students see on television is not an accurate representation of residency.
“It’s not like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ — it’s not cute, it’s not sexy, it’s not cool, it’s just hard and it’s a lot of sacrifice,” DeLaMora said. “Mentally, physically, emotionally, you feel done.”
DeLaMora said medical schools now are moving toward a system where both sections are compressed into 18 months each. While that does increase the pressure during school it adds an extra six months where students can focus on what interests them.
When it comes to finding programs, pediatrics itself is not a competitive field, DeLaMora said: It depends solely on how competitive a student chooses to make it. The acceptance rate depends heavily on the location.
“If you’re willing to go a little more rural you will get a spot,” she said. “There are unmatched spots in pediatrics and internal medicine, but they may be in a less desirable area, or they may be in a less desirable program.”
One issue that most programs are working to fix now is the number of hours spent working in a week. Interns cannot work more than 16 hours without an eight-hour break. The limit is 24 hours for second- and third-year residents. With all the stress placed on students, DeLaMora recommended that they find ways to cope.
“I will tell you it is very easy to get overwhelmed and anxious and nervous,” said DeLaMora, who found running to be helpful. “Most [residency programs] do have a psychologist or psychiatrist that you can go to confidentially.”
Moving on to the specifics of her job, DeLaMora said her subset of infectious disease is the lowest paid, due to the lack of procedures performed. The job, however, is perfect for people who are curious, she said.
“I think it is a super-interesting specialty: You get to be nosy; I get to ask people a thousand questions,” she said. “It is such a privilege to do that kind of stuff and have people tell you their whole life story.”
Last Updated: 3/1/17