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Robert Humble anticipates pathology match

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Rob Humble portraitAfter shadowing several physicians in different fields of study, Rob Humble, president of the Carver College of Medicine Student Government, concluded that pathology was the specialty for him.

Hometown: Estherville, Iowa

Specialty: Pathology

Residency Match: University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

Some questions for Rob

Did you receive scholarship support?

I received a scholarship sponsored by an alumnus during my fourth year. Given the ballooning cost of medical education over the last several decades, I am grateful for any opportunity to limit my debt burden. I hope to sponsor a Carver College of Medicine scholarship someday so I can pay it forward!

How did you decide on a career in medicine?

Coming into undergrad here at the UI, I thought I wanted to go to medical school. My parents don’t work in health care, so I didn’t have a good sense of what a career in medicine would entail. Shadowing helped me determine that medicine was where I needed to be. 

In my sophomore year of undergrad, I spent a particularly busy overnight call with a family medicine resident where I got to see patients with a variety of interesting medical problems. In the morning when I debriefed with the resident, he stressed that “physicians are privileged to play a role in some of life’s most intimate moments”—those words stuck with me. I knew I wanted a career that allowed me to make a meaningful impact, and this shadowing experience helped me decide medicine was the best way for me to have that desired impact on others.

What unique aspects of the Carver College of Medicine curriculum were most beneficial?

I’m glad that we spend two and a half years doing clinical rotations compared to just two years in the more traditional two-and-two format of medical curriculum. This allowed me to do additional electives in pathology, as well as electives for the Research Distinction Track and the Teaching Distinction Track. 

What was your most memorable experience at the Carver College of Medicine?

In my last year of medical school, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as student body president of the Carver College of Medicine Student Government. I’ve enjoyed working as a liaison between administrators and the student body. One of the projects I’m most proud of has been working to realize a dedicated lounge within UI Hospitals & Clinics for medical students and PA students on clinical rotations. In the past, students have been dissatisfied with the lack of dedicated space for students. When I was asked to work on a solution, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been fulfilling for me to address concerns and improve the student experience.

Is there someone in the college who was especially helpful in guiding and mentoring you?

Matt Krasowski, MD, PhD, in the Department of Pathology has mentored me throughout medical school. Before we met I never considered pathology as a specialty. Krasowski helped me understand what a career in pathology would look like. He helped me gain experience presenting talks and preparing manuscripts, both of which are essential skills given my interest in a career in academic medicine. Most importantly, he checked in on me from time to time to see how I was doing. It matters to know that somebody cares about your well-being.

Do you have any advice for your fellow medical students about how to choose a specialty?

Much of medical school is organized like an apprenticeship, with students spending several weeks on any given specialty. For many of us, there’s a faculty member who we really click with and we start to see ourselves in a given specialty. In choosing a specialty, you have to do something that you find stimulating. If you can’t get excited about a field, you probably shouldn’t specialize in it. At the same time, you need to keep in mind the life you want to have outside medicine. You have to figure out where that ideal work-life balance is for yourself and the people in your life.