An MUM graduate in 2004, Emily Marcus, M.D., completed medical school at Johns Hopkins University to become a “hospitalist” — a medical career that didn’t even exist two decades ago. Hospitalists work exclusively in hospitals rather than in clinics or surgical wards.
“It was the specialization that best suited my interests, “ says Dr. Marcus, 32, who in August 2014 began work as a physician at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. “The field of hospital medicine is growing fast. It’s now common for hospitals to have doctors who practice only hospital medicine to care for the admitted patients (as opposed to their primary physicians). I enjoy the pace and variety of medicine I see as a hospitalist, and that I get to work as part of a team.”
Dr. Marcus also chose the specialization because of the workplace teaching opportunities available at hospitals. As an instructor-physician, she teaches medical residents from the University of Maryland.
Dr. Marcus’s background, perspective, and early life experiences are somewhat unique among physicians. Few doctors come out of holistic educational backgrounds such as Dr. Marcus, who attended grade school at Maharishi School in Fairfield and earned a bachelor’s degree in holistic medicine at MUM. Both schools offer Consciousness-Based℠ education, which emphasizes the holistic development of students and includes regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique.
“Generally, holistic medicine can be effective in combination with modern medicine, especially for preventative practices,” says Dr. Marcus. “At MUM, I learned a lot about nutrition, diet, and lifestyle modification for prevention and treatment of disease. Subjects like nutrition aren’t taught much in medical school. But it can be a useful tool.”
Dr. Marcus’s views were also shaped by her formative experiences as a doctor practicing in developing countries, part of her medical school education. On trips to Honduras and Tanzania, she worked in clinics and hospitals challenged by the lack of modern equipment and resources.
“You learn a lot when you have very limited resources,” she says. “You have to rely on the physical exam, and be conscientious in the tests you choose. It was a great opportunity to work closely with the doctors there, to exchange knowledge on both sides. But it was also sad to see people struggle with illnesses that are easily treatable in the U.S.” She hopes to do more global health work in the future.
Dr. Marcus’s interest in becoming a doctor “evolved,” she says, starting at MUM, where her initial choice of major was mathematics. When she moved to the Physiology and Health track which focused on Consciousness-Based health care, things began to change. “That sparked my interest,” she says. “Ultimately, though, I decided to take a more traditional route.”
After graduating, she worked in a genetics lab in Iowa City and then started a two-year post-baccalaureate pre-med program at University of Iowa before being accepted at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.
She had her residency in internal medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, and worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s top cancer hospitals. And she worked in a primary care clinic in Queens, New York.
“There’s nowhere like New York,” recalls Dr. Marcus. “I had patients from all over the world and from all walks of life. I worked with amazing doctors. It was a great experience.”
During her residency in New York, Dr. Marcus maintained a long-distance relationship with Christopher Dunn, her boyfriend who in July 2013 became her husband. Christopher, a classical guitarist, graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.
When asked about the ways in which her MUM experience has carried forward in her life, Dr. Marcus responds, “MUM and Consciousness-Based education helped me to become more centered. I had a very stress-free college experience, which helped me stay focused on what I wanted to do. I was able to maintain a balanced perspective in a field that can be both mentally and physical challenging. That was really helpful to me.”