In July, Dr. Natasha Corbitt became the first Black female pediatric surgeon in the United States to also hold a Ph.D. She joined UT Southwestern in September as an Assistant Professor of Surgery and a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. As a surgeon-scientist she is focused on understanding biliary atresia and studying other hepatobiliary diseases and complex pediatric wounds. Watch Dr. Corbitt explain how she's making the best of her time to improve the health of children.
And, read more about why she decided to pursue a path as a surgeon-scientist and what brought her to UT Southwestern.
Being a surgeon is being a lifelong learner and being a researcher is being a lifelong questioner.
In my mind, I just felt like I have this incredible privilege to be able to see people and see how they’re sick and how to get them better and to operate on them and see them in a really intimate setting in the operating room.
And then to take that with me into the lab and think about how I can make their life better, or the next patient’s life better.
My main research goal is to understand why kids get biliary atresia. It affects neonates and infants and their duct that drains their liver of bile so you can digest fat.
Nobody really knows why kids get it, and so it makes it really hard to treat.
[Text] Two-thirds of biliary atresia patients will undergo liver transplantation before reaching adulthood.
I think your clinical interest always kind of guides your research interests, a little bit, and because I love liver surgery so much that kind of drew me to wanting to understand biliary atresia better.
[Text] How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your perspective as a surgeon-scientist?
I think it just kind of highlights what’s really important. For me, specifically, it just made me feel even more dedicated to taking care of kids and wanting to figure out why some kids get sick the way they do.
You don’t know if you have a long time or a short time, but you better make the best of your time, and I feel like I am actively trying to make the best of my time.