Dr. Shivum Agarwal: Minnie Lee Lancaster, M.D., Scholarship Award in Family Medicine

By Kerry Gunnels

Dr. Shivum Agarwal was well on his way to a high-flying career as a consultant, offering advice on business strategy to clients all over the world.

Dr. Shivum Agarwal
Dr. Shivum Agarwal

Then one day, as he looked out the 25th-floor window of his New York City office, his gaze fell on the bronze bull sculpture that stands as an iconic symbol of Wall Street.

“I realized I wanted something more out of life than just pushing the bottom line,” said Dr. Agarwal, the 2013 winner of the Minnie Lee Lancaster, M.D., Scholarship Award in Family Medicine. “As lucrative and exciting as my life as a business consultant was, something was missing. I knew at that moment that I needed a socially beneficial element in my everyday work life.”

Medical school seemed a logical step for the Duke University graduate – and practicing medicine a calling in which he could be both socially responsible and entrepreneurial.

“I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” said Dr. Agarwal, thanking his wife of only a few days, Danielle, his parents, and his brother for helping him to take “the harder but truer path.”

The acceptance to UT Southwestern Medical School was a homecoming of sorts for Dr. Agarwal, who was raised in Richardson, Texas, and graduated from J.J. Pearce High School.

A trip to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake was a seminal experience that cemented the young medical student’s decision to pursue family medicine. He will serve his residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Dr. Agarwal – who unlike many of his fellow students never dreamed of being a doctor – said he often has felt like an “outsider looking in” at UTSW. But that hasn’t stopped him from excelling, as his latest honor demonstrates.

The Lancaster Award honors Dr. Minnie Lee Lancaster and her husband, Dr. Edgar Lancaster, who in 1953 opened the Grapevine Clinic and Hospital. It was the first clinic in Grapevine and later would become Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.

“Shiv is one of the most energetic and passionate people I have had the pleasure of working with,” said one of his mentors, Dr. Jeanne Sheffield, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “When he finds something important to him, he throws himself into it. He is going to make an amazing family practitioner, one I will send family and friends to – there is no greater sign of respect in the clinical realm.” 

Another mentor, Dr. Dan Sepdham, Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine, said, “It’s great to watch someone when they find their passion. Shiv has been a constant source of leadership and strength for students interested in family medicine. I have no doubt he will go on to be a great resident.”

Dr. Sheffield holds the Alvin “Bud” Brekken Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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