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Resident Spotlight: Lina Barker, MD

Saturday, August 6, 2016
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Incoming resident Lina Barker, MD, started her residency at Duke this summer after getting her MD at UNC-Chapel Hill. In this resident spotlight interview, Barker talks about her first month at as an internal medicine resident, her aspirations as a neurologist, and enjoying visits to the North Carolina coast, George R. R. Martin, and music from her native Colombia in her spare time.

Where are you now in your internal medicine residency? What aspects about this program have you enjoyed most so far?
I just finished my first month, and I'm about to start my ambulatory rotation. The aspects I have enjoyed the most include discussing interesting cases during rounds and noticing how my attendings not only welcome questions, but teach us about research trials that support their medical decisions. All of the residents have been incredibly helpful and given me feedback about my notes and presentations. Finally, my fellow interns have demonstrated great teamwork, and their resourcefulness and good sense of humor have made this transition easier.

Where did you grow up? What do you miss most about your hometown?
I grew up in Bogota, Colombia and still miss eating arepas and ajiaco (chicken soup), talking in Spanish daily, listening to lively Latin American musicians (such as Carlos Vives), and gazing at Bogota's skyline on sunny days and at nighttime.

What areas of neurology are you most interested in? What would be your dream job?
At this point I am mainly interested in building a solid base in general neurology. Learning about the brain is incredibly exciting, and I'm ready to dive into each of the areas of neurology to learn what I like best. My dream job would incorporate daily problem solving and sharing my knowledge of neurologic conditions and treatments with patients and their families.

You were a contributor to IRIS, the Art and Literary Journal at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. How long have you been an artist, and what media are your favorite?
I'm impressed that you know this. My mom is an artist so she has taught me about art since I was in elementary school. Her favorite subjects are still lifes and flowers. I enjoy doodling with ink pens as well as creating oil paintings full of vibrant colors.

Have you recently read any books, journal articles or blog posts that would be of interest to the Department?
This summer I read Incognito by David Eagleman and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. They taught me more about the intricate infrastructure lying beneath conscious decision making and about puzzling neurological cases approached from a humanistic perspective.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I love spending time with my family and friends and trying out new restaurants (especially sushi and Indian food). One of my absolute favorite hobbies is reading fantasy novels, such as those by George R.R. Martin. My husband Emerson and I enjoy visiting the North Carolina coast, especially Wrightsville and Atlantic Beach. Finally, listening to music is therapeutic for me. I like starting my day with an upbeat pop, country, or rock song.

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"Let it Be" by Lina Barker, 2014

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Barker enjoys a day out.