December 01, 2021

Samantha Lyons: Serving with gratitude

Medical student smiling at camera

Samantha's Michigan Answer: I've been able to find and incorporate creative ways of engaging with the arts and humanities while practicing ethical medicine and supporting an inclusive environment for all persons. 

Lifelong Michigander Samantha Lyons (she/her/hers) graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2016. Between undergrad and medical school she was a yoga instructor, standardized patient and application review specialist for the University of Michigan undergraduate admissions. She also trained and competed in jiu jitsu and wrestling.

Now in her third year at Michigan Medical School, Samantha is immersed in the Branches curriculum and serving as chair of the Student Diversity Council and co-editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Medicine. She spends her free time practicing and teaching yoga, watching anime and playing with her two dachshunds Baxter Greybeard Longbody & Dottie Quackadilly Speckles.

What have been your favorite parts or features of the med school curriculum so far, and why?

I love having the Branches (3rd and 4th year curriculum) to explore clinical rotations that are most meaningful to me. Choice and control over this aspect of my undergraduate medical training has increased my happiness as a student.

What is your Path of Excellence, why did you choose to pursue a Path, and what have you enjoyed most about taking part in a Path?

I'm in the Ethics Path of Excellence. I wanted to pursue a Path in order to develop expertise in an area of interest for me. I have most enjoyed the opportunity to integrate ethics into my clinical rotations - bringing articles to the clinic for discussion, probing decision-making to understand ethical implications, and engaging in conversations with Michigan Medicine’s ethicists about current consults.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before or while going through medical school?

Research might sometimes make you pause, as you scan the brief record of lives. Their stories might catch you in your heart, and your tears may try to run towards gravity. But, give yourself time, pause to respect your experience, then start again. Honor the patients with a ritual when you read about them from afar and thank them...for letting you learn from them to help others.

What significant extracurricular activities have been a part of your medical education so far and how have they enriched your medical school experience?

As the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal of Medicine, a student-run journal, I have learned what happens after you submit an article for publication. Learning about and guiding other students through this process has been invaluable as I continue to develop my own research portfolio.

Share the health disparities, health equity and/or social justice work you’ve become involved in at Michigan.

Prior to medical school, I served as a Diversity Peer Educator at the University of Michigan. During my second year at UMMS, I was the Representative for Community Engagement for the Student Diversity Council, and I am now the Chair. I am a learner in this space, knee-deep in gratitude to serve this community through education, outreach, and advocacy in issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice. 

What is your favorite place to go in/around the Ann Arbor area and why?

My favorite place is Roos Roast because there’s no need to be perfect there. There are no expectations for me other than to just be human, which is such glorious freedom. Plus, the coffee is the best in the Ann Arbor area!