Dr. Caroline Smith: Kurt Ian Wey, M.D., Senior Pediatric Award
By Remekca Owens
Dr. Caroline Smith developed a love of pediatrics at age 16 while volunteering at Children’s Medical Center. The Dallas native’s subsequent career choice would lead her not only to medicine, but also back to her love of caring for children and their families.
This passion is one of the many reasons she was selected to receive the 2017 Kurt Ian Wey, M.D., Senior Pediatric Award. The UT Southwestern Medical School recognition is named in honor of a 1998 UT Southwestern Medical Center graduate who died in an automobile accident. Established by the Wey family and friends, the award recognizes a fourth-year Medical Student who shows empathy and compassion for sick children, has significant knowledge, and maintains a good sense of humor.
“Caroline is the perfect example of what we strive for in our graduates – she is intelligent, reads constantly to enhance her knowledge, is upbeat and wonderful with families and care teams,” said Dr. Tanya Watt, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and one of Dr. Smith’s mentors. “As a fourth-year, she practically ran our team during her month of service.”
During her time at UT Southwestern, Dr. Smith coupled her coursework and clinical education with community service. She spent several summers working on the medical staff at Camp Sweeney, a camp in support of children with Type 1 diabetes, and also served as a student manager and volunteer at The Monday Clinic – a student-run free clinic at North Dallas Shared Ministries. The sum of these experiences further solidified her love of pediatrics.
“During my clinical experiences in my pediatrics rotations, I not only learned fascinating medicine but I genuinely loved coming to work every day,” said Dr. Smith. “Kids are very vulnerable, but also amazingly resilient. As a pediatrician one has many different avenues for making an impact on patients’ lives, and I cannot think of a more fun or rewarding future career.”
Dr. Smith graduated from Stanford University, where she majored in human biology and minored in American studies. She is one of 38 recently inducted members of the UT Southwestern chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. AOA members are selected based upon high academic standing, leadership among peers, professionalism, a firm sense of ethics, promise of future success in medicine, and a commitment to service in the school and community.
For Dr. Smith, however, hard work and leadership are only a portion of why she believes she’s been successful throughout her academic journey. “I am one of five children, and I am very close to my family,” she said. “I attribute so much of my success to my parents and my siblings for their unyielding support.”
Up next is her pediatric residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in the Boston Combined Residency Program. She said future plans include subspecialized training in either hematology/oncology, endocrinology, or critical care.
Dr. Watt is a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care.