Spring 2011
Resident Round-Up

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Amanda Magrini with Helen Gray

Amanda Magrini, M.D.'10, left, reviews charts with Helen Gray, M.D.'08. Photo by Laura Levin

Chief resident finds balance in life

By Laura Levin

When Helen Gray, M.D., first arrived at the University of Nevada School of Medicine as a first-year student in 2004, Peggy Dupey, Ph.D., then assistant dean for student affairs, said something she will never forget.

"She told us that we all need to find our balance and that it's important to have a life outside of medical school," Gray said. "My balance was to have a family to help keep me grounded."

Gray, who had her first child while attending medical school and her second child as a resident, had to learn how to negotiate the challenges of balancing family and work early on.

"It is definitely a dance," Gray said. "It takes a lot of organization. I have to refer to my calendar and smartphone a lot."

Last fall Gray added yet another task to her balancing act.

She, along with Jonathan McCaleb, M.D., were elected by their peers to be co-chief residents at School of Medicine's family and community medicine residency program in Reno. As co-chief resident, Gray serves as liaison between the faculty and 19 residents.

"At first it disrupted my balance," Gray said. "It would have been easy to get consumed with all that goes into being chief. I had to take a step back and remember that my first job is to learn medicine."

She was honored that her classmates had enough confidence in her abilities to choose her for this position.

"There is something to be said about being in a leadership role," Gray said. "You are held accountable in a way that makes you step up your game."

David Fiore, M.D., family medicine residency program director, is pleased with the residents' choice in chief.

"Dr. Gray is an excellent co-chief resident, fun to work with and a hard worker."

Gray has already learned quite a bit from her new position.

"In school you forget that there is still a business side to medicine, which is something that you aren't really taught," she said.

"This role has been good for me. It has been interesting in all aspects—I've learned what goes into running a clinical practice, who I am as a person and how I interact with others."

From her very first exposure to family medicine, she knew that it was the field for her.

"I learned about everything from women's health to pediatrics," Gray said. "I loved that family medicine covered such a wide range of medical issues but still had continuity. When I think of a doctor, I think of that trusted person you go to with all sorts of medical questions, and they can answer all of them. That's the doctor that I want to be."

Gray will remain in Reno following completion of her residency this summer.

"I'll be signing with Saint Mary's Medical Group doing outpatient primary care and staying on with the school's family medicine department to do inpatient hospital work," she said.

Gray is excited for what her future in medicine has in store for her.

"Every day I see a medical first and get to treat something that I have read about," she said.

"That's what I love about this field. There will always be a first for me."