Dr. Mathew Stokes: Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas Award for Excellence in Pediatric Medicine

By Alex Lyda

Dr. Mathew Stokes
Dr. Mathew Stokes

It was on a trip to the Philippines during his sophomore year of college that Dr. Mathew Stokes truly came out of his shell. Hailing from a family of computer programmers (he’s also married to one), extroversion wasn’t exactly in his DNA.

But the trip, part of a church mission, forced him to approach and speak to strangers about his faith. He did not want to overwhelm them with religious zealotry, but instead wanted to gauge their spiritual needs and open up to them in unique ways.

“There’s something about approaching and befriending random people that is both challenging and rewarding,” Dr. Stokes said.

While on the north coast of the islands, Dr. Stokes witnessed Filipinos struggling with health issues in rural areas. 

“I also learned a lot about the importance of working hard because I had the opportunity from time to time to help the local farmers with their fields,” he said. “These people were extremely poor, and sometimes the only food they would have would be what they were able to grow through their hard work.”

As the recipient of the 2013 Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas Award for Excellence in Pediatric Medicine, Dr. Stokes’ path to medicine doesn’t exactly follow the I-know-exactly-what-I-am-going-to-be-when-I-grow-up narrative. Originally from Provo, Utah, Dr. Stokes majored in biology at Brigham Young University.

It was more of a gradual unfolding, he said, and the expectant father (his first child, a son, is due Sept. 1) has come to the realization that he’s chosen the right field, especially since it demands his full attention and requires a certain social skill with kids that he knows will be honed in fatherhood.

The Pediatric Society Award recognizes an outstanding graduate who has the personal character and dedication to serve, along with being an advocate for children.

Dr. Stokes has done very well in school – through hard work.

“Mat has a stellar academic record that speaks for itself, a level of maturity that is unique among trainees at this stage of his education, and yet he is amongst the most humble students you could ever hope to meet,” said Dr. Soumya Adhikari, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. “I look forward to calling him a colleague and was thrilled when I learned he would be staying in Dallas for residency.”

Dr. Stokes will be doing his residency in child neurology at UT Southwestern. He hopes to one day teach and work with medical trainees. 

“I see myself working in a pediatric neurology department associated with a medical school and being involved in training and working with students and residents,” he said.