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Heather Elizabeth Postma, M.D.: Dr. Richard Mays Smith Award

Volunteering at Scottish Rite for Children since the age of 14, Dr. Heather Elizabeth Postma is inspired to pursue medicine from a desire to serve and lead. She relishes working in team-based environments and focusing on the holistic care of patients.

Heather Elizabeth Postma, M.D.
Heather Elizabeth Postma, M.D.

What this award means: I am honored to be recognized with this award and see it as a reflection of those who surround me. It is a privilege to be part of a community that values clinical excellence and humanistic values in equal measure.

Mentor comment: After going through her clerkships, Heather decided to take a year off to earn an M.B.A. She was motivated to learn more about the drivers of health care to position herself to advocate on behalf of patients. Grounded, yet with a visionary outlook, Heather will no doubt be a leader in the field of internal medicine. – Reeni Abraham, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

Background and family: I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, with my parents and two brothers. I grew up in a family of physicians in various fields, including radiology, orthopedic surgery, ENT, dermatology, and Ob/Gyn.

What led to your career path: I grew up with strong role models who inspired me by demonstrating the value of empathy, compassion, and intellectual curiosity. In medical school, I was motivated by rich patient interaction, intellectual challenges, and collaborative teamwork. I also became aware of the various challenges in accessing and delivering high-quality care, which motivated me to pursue an M.B.A. to acquire skills and knowledge to better advocate for patients and participate in health care system transformation.

College: I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a minor in medical humanities. I was honored to be a member of the President’s Leadership Class, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Medical Humanities Scholars Program. I was also actively involved in Kappa Alpha Theta, Heartland Hospice, and Global Medical Brigades.

UTSW activities: I enjoyed serving my community through various avenues, including student-run free clinics, United to Serve, and Scottish Rite for Children. I also nurtured a passion for mentorship while serving as an Academic Colleges peer mentor, AOA Step Up to Clerkships committee member, Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program mentor, and PRE+OP orientation counselor.

Surprising fact: I have always loved ice cream and recently learned that my great-grandfather, Clarence Vogt, invented the continuous freezer in the 1920s. It is still used today to produce ice cream without interruption.

Ultimate career goal: Ultimately, my goal is to positively impact the health and well-being of individuals and society. I hope to bring together outstanding medical and business education to better advocate for patients and work toward positive transformation in the health care system.

Future plans: I envision a future where I never stop learning, growing, and transforming. I plan to pursue a residency in internal medicine and have an interest in general internal medicine. I am excited for what the future holds, both personally and professionally.

About the award: The award is given annually to one or more graduating medical students who excel academically during clinical rotations and exhibit an interest in and compassion for patients.

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