Pepper Jenkins Award winner settles in

Michael comes full circle to serve residency at Parkland with husband

By Katherine Morales / Holiday 2010

Dr. Meghan McDonald Michael won’t have to stray far now that she’s completed medical school, and that’s just what she’d hoped for.

Dr. Michael has begun her residency in anesthesiology at UT Southwestern — a particularly fortuitous place for her to complete her medical training because her husband, Dr. Wayne Michael, is a resident here as well.

The two were married just a few weeks shy of her medical school graduation.

Dr. Meghan McDonald Michael

“It was a big relief for us to find out we weren’t going to be training in different cities,” she said. “And I’ll be close to my family, which is really important to me.”

Dr. Meghan Michael was born and raised in Dallas, where she attended the Hockaday School from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. She credits the rigorous curriculum there for her early interest in science and medicine. Her father, a pediatrician, provided an enriching role model for her as she grew up.

“His love for the profession inspired me early on, and I knew he would support me in whatever profession I chose,” she said. “I’ve always been very proud of him for not urging me to become a doctor and encouraging me to make my own choices.”

She eventually decided the medical field was the right choice for her, and after her high school graduation, she attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., for her undergraduate work.

“Washington is an amazing place to live,” she said. “The time I spent there was invaluable to me.”

But as graduation neared, she was eager for the chance to attend medical school in Dallas. Like many students, she was unsure which specialty would be “the one.”

For Dr. Michael, however, the mix of pharmacology, chemistry and proximity to patient care narrowed her interest to one specialty — anesthesiology.

“You’re right there with the patient during the entire procedure,” Dr. Michael said. “You can talk to them before they are asleep and ease their concerns. I really enjoy that kind of patient interaction.”

Faculty who oversaw her clinical training took notice of her prowess in the field, which helped earn her the 2010 Pepper Jenkins Award in Anesthesiology and Pain Management.

“I think she’s an outstanding, extraordinary young woman — outgoing, gregarious and a real people person. She performed incredibly well on her clinical rotations, where her commitment to helping her fellow man was quite obvious,” said Dr. Charles Whitten, chairman of anesthesiology and pain management. “I’m delighted that she’s joining our department for her residency because she really represents everything Dr. Jenkins stood for, which was excellence in all areas of your life.”

Dr. Jenkins established the anesthesiology department at UT Southwestern in 1948 and served as its chairman for 33 years. The award includes a $500 stipend.

Time will tell, Dr. Michael added, whether she will choose a fellowship in a particular subspecialty of anesthesia. With all the excitement in her life right now, she said she’s happy to take it one day at a time.

blue bullet_square

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