Dr. Blake Gregory: Hemphill-Gojer Award in Internal Medicine

By Rachel Skei Donihoo

A philosopher by nature, Dr. Blake Gregory first began to think seriously about human suffering while an undergraduate at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. As she pored over classic texts such as The Brothers Karamazov, she became acutely aware of anguish — and of her own desire to serve those in pain.

During the summer break after her freshman year in college, the Dallas native seized the opportunity to work with abused women and children at the Genesis Women’s Shelter, an experience that left her both motivated and overwhelmed.

Dr. Blake Gregory

“I think that experience cemented my dream to serve the suffering, but it also made me realize how helpless and unskilled I was in relation to the need of those I wanted to help,” said Dr. Gregory, who has been elected to the Dallas chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. “I knew then that I’d need to develop a broad skill base, and that I still had much to learn.”

That humanism and quest for knowledge are two of the qualities that have garnered her the 2010 Hemphill-Gojer Award in Internal Medicine. The honor is given annually to the top medical student interested in internal medicine. The award was established by Ross H. and Anne Seymour Hemphill in honor of their son and daughter-in-law, Dr. and Mrs. Seymour Hemphill; their daughter and son-in-law, Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Gojer; and Anne Hemphill’s parents, E. Clyde and Florine Allen Seymour. Drs. Hemphill and Gojer are both UT Southwestern alumni.

Dr. Gregory said the “comprehensive nature” of internal medicine appealed to her almost immediately upon entering medical school. Although she says there is a good chance she may one day specialize, she is grateful for the “wide scope of knowledge” she’s gained during her journey in internal medicine.

“Blake has been a superior student — without a doubt, one of the best I’ve ever worked with,” said Dr. R. Ellwood Jones, professor of internal medicine and a mentor to Dr. Gregory. “She is an immensely impressive young woman who possesses both a sharp intellect and a compassionate spirit. The rapport she has established with fellow students is remarkable, and we’re just thrilled that she has earned this award. Blake really is a wonderful human being who will be a true asset to the medical field.”

After earning her undergraduate degree in philosophy from St. John’s in 2004, Dr. Gregory took two years off to travel, complete medical school prerequisites and marry her high school sweetheart, Blake Marvin, an architectural photographer. She also worked as an organic chemistry instructor for the Princeton Review MCAT Preparatory Course and participated in UT Southwestern’s summer research program under the guidance of Dr. William Lee, professor of internal medicine.

In addition to her studies, Dr. Gregory made service a priority during her time in medical school. She was vice president of the Dallas AOA in her senior year, when she was instrumental in launching a novel program designed to salvage exposed, but unused, medical supplies and redistribute them to Third World countries. She also became a major advocate for mentorship among UT Southwestern’s students by increasing the visibility of upperclassmen and making them more available to underclassmen through workshops and study groups.

“Blake embodies many of the personal qualities that make a great internist and a great leader,” said Dr. Hari Raja, associate professor of internal medicine. “She cares for her fellow students, her patients and humankind in general. She has a wonderful ability to see the big picture.”

After graduation, Dr. Gregory will head to an internship at 
the University of California, San Francisco, which she calls “a 
dream come true.” She and her husband already have rented a 
little house a few blocks from the beach.

“Medical school has been a thrilling experience for me, and as excited as I am about beginning my career, I have bittersweet feelings about leaving,” she said. “I love
UT Southwestern and feel such gratitude for everything I’ve learned here.”