Dr. Jia Wang: MT “Pepper” Jenkins Outstanding Medical Student Award in Anesthesiology and Pain Management

By Kerry Gunnels

Dr. Jia Wang
Dr. Jia Wang

Dr. Jia Wang isn’t the first “Dr. Wang” in her family, but she will be the first to be addressed as “Doctor” on a regular basis.

“My dad actually has a Ph.D. in nuclear physics, but he never used it for his career since he now works in computer science. In fact, his co-workers don’t even know he has a doctorate,” said Dr. Wang, the 2013 recipient of the MT “Pepper” Jenkins Outstanding Medical Student Award in Anesthesiology and Pain Management.

Dr. Wang, from Flower Mound, Texas, is an honors graduate in biology from Johns Hopkins University.

“One of the best things about going to Johns Hopkins was the medical exposure I was able to have through courses I took, as well as the multiple shadowing experiences I had, one of which was with an anesthesiologist,” she said.

 At UT Southwestern Medical School, she pursued her interest in the subject, becoming president of the Anesthesiology Student Interest Group. She is excited to remain at UT Southwestern for her residency.

The “Pepper” Jenkins Award is named for the physician, now deceased, who established the Department of Anesthesiology in 1948 and served as its Chair until 1981. It goes to a student seeking a career in anesthesiology who had an exemplary performance in medical school, takes an empathetic approach to patient care, and exhibits the characteristics of leadership, scholarship, and thirst for knowledge exemplified by the award’s namesake.

 “Jia is an outstanding student and person,” said Dr. Charles Whitten, Chair of Anesthesiology and Pain Management. “She has provided great leadership for our student interest group. She is a delight to work with, and possesses the true care and concern for her fellow man that was Dr. Jenkins’ defining personal attribute.”

Dr. Girish Joshi, Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, said Dr. Wang is personable, intelligent, and conscientious.

 “I am particularly impressed by her hardworking nature and find her to be a self-motivated learner,” he said. 

Dr. Wang was drawn to a career in medicine by watching her parents grow older and face more health issues. She likes the idea of working in a specialty to relieve patients’ pain and anxiety.

“I have often been told that I have a calming and relaxing effect on the people around me, so I think I would do well as an anesthesiologist,” she said.


Dr. Whitten holds the Margaret Milam McDermott Distinguished Chair in Anesthesiology and Pain Management.