February 20, 2020
Prince Grad, Dr. Leah Brown, Completing Specialized Medical Degree
As she was going through the rigors of daily life as a high school student, Prince Avenue Christian School alumna, Leah Brown, began to think that she might want to pursue a career in medicine. Now, eight years later, the PACS Class of 2012 Valedictorian is in the midst of accomplishing her goals.
After graduating from Prince, Dr. Leah Brown earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Microbiology and a minor in Spanish. During her time at UGA, Leah worked in an industrial microbiology research lab and served on several mission trips to Central America. It was through these experiences that Leah discovered that two of her passions, science and service to others, could be combined through a career in medicine. She went on to attend medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and is currently a resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee where she is pursuing the specialized field of Academic Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine.
Leah credits the academic rigor of a Prince education for preparing her for the difficult challenges she has faced as a medical student. “I was encouraged and empowered to challenge myself and to pursue the courses that would maximize my success in college and beyond, and I’m forever grateful to each of my teachers for laying a solid foundation.” Ultimately, however, Leah references a strong sense of support throughout her 13 years as a Prince student. “I knew that every single one of my teachers believed in me and saw my potential, even when I couldn’t. Without their support, there is no way I would be where I am now.”
Leah’s memories of PACS do not just resonate of Biology class with Mrs. Carrie Owens or of Spanish class with her grandmother and retired teacher, Pris Fournier. “My fondest memories are in the small, seemingly mundane moments, with lots of laughter.” Leah describes late-night bus rides after volleyball games, a middle school basketball game that went into triple overtime, playing with younger students at PACS After School Care, and spending time with friends. “I especially remember my first and most life-changing international mission trip to Honduras as a senior. I’ve gone back three times, and I can’t wait to go again.”
Leah says that on average, she works 70-hour weeks, each one filled with challenges that no amount of money or accolades could see her through, such as the death of a patient or the devastation of a cancer diagnosis. “I would be lying if I said it was easy, but Jesus never said it would be easy – He simply said He would be with us.” Leah expresses a humble appreciation for God’s grace in her life as she navigates these challenges. “The Lord has been so gracious to me, guiding me with every step, equipping me with exactly what I need. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is where He has me. There’s nothing better than that kind of peace.”
It is this faith that gives Leah the strength she needs to continue the challenging journey she is on. She expects her additional training to take several more years. “If I continue on this path, I have two more years of residency, two to three years of infectious diseases fellowship, and three years of pulmonary/critical care fellowship.” With this specialized training, Leah hopes to run a clinic for patients with chronic infections, teach medical students, residents, and fellows, care for patients in the intensive care unit, and stay active in research. “My day to day will vary, but every day I will continue to learn. That’s the goal.”
Written by Amy Frierson