Feben Girma, M.D.

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Hometown: Stone Mountain, Georgia (originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Duke University

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Psychology Major; Chemistry Minor

Name of Medical School: Morehouse School of Medicine

Residency Program: Wake Forest Internal Medicine Residency Program

Favorite Quote: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6

Contact Info: fgirma@wakehealth.edu

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I work as an attending physician at Winston-Salem’s Downtown Health Plaza in general Internal Medicine.  My work is primarily clinical and I work with a safety net program targeting patients with high emergency department and hospital admission rates. I also precept residents and medical students. I’ve always had a burden for the medically underserved and am part of the National Health Service Corps, where I’ve committed to working with this patient population.

If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell her?

There will be times when you want to quit studying and ask yourself “Why am I doing this?”, but in 1-2 years, you’ll be interacting with and managing patients, which is why you went into medicine.

What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to residency?

Really get a feel for the residency program. You have to go with your gut.  Don’t just go for prestige, but you need to determine if the other residents at the program are people that you are willing to work with for at least the next 3 years.

What do you feel makes your specialty stand out from other specialties?

I’m in general Internal Medicine. General practice is not as popular anymore, but I’m glad I’m in it.  We’re the first point of contact for most patients and we learn to build trusting relationships with them as their primary care doctor.  It’s an honor for a patient to share their vulnerabilities with us. Also, with the wide spectrum of disease states that exists in general medicine, there’s plenty of opportunity for lifelong learning.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Learn from people as much as from your books. Someone told me this before I went to college.  This applies not only to maintaining relationships with family and friends who are close to you, but also to learning from your patients, not as cases but as human beings that each have a story.

How do you manage to balance your work life, your romantic relationship and your family life?

I try and keep my priorities straight – God first, family second, and job/career third. I have a newborn daughter and I know that this will be even more important than before.  It’s not always easy and I do allow work to bleed into my family life at times, but it’s a balance that I actively try to maintain.

What do you like to do for fun?

Travelling – In the last year, I’ve been to Spain and Israel. I love experiencing new cultures.

Zumba – It’s my favorite way to relieve stress and get a good work out.

Hanging out with my husband – He’s my favorite person in the world.

Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?

Musicians: Michael Jackson

Shows: Black-ish and reruns of Family Matters

Movies: Star Wars series

Thank you so much for your advice and for sharing your perspective of medicine with us Dr. Girma! Your work is incredibly important to the community! There are people out there who want to do exactly what you're doing, and you've helped to motivate them with this spotlight feature! You are very much appreciated!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on December 20th, 2017

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