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Resident Spotlight: Linh Tran, DO, MS

Friday, July 14, 2017

Incoming resident Linh Tran, DO, MS, is used to treating neurology patients--at least little ones. The third-year Child Neurology resident (or fellow, as our equivalents in the Department of Pediatrics are called) will be spending a year treating and learning about adult patients with our Department as part of her training. In this “Spotlight” interview, Tran talks to us about her hopes and fears about working with older patients, and the joys and difficulties of treating child patients (including the time a two-year-old turned her into a witch).

Welcome to the Neurology Department! What are you looking forward to the most about your year with us? What feels most intimidating about working with adult patients?
I have spent the last two years learning about general pediatrics. I haven't interviewed an adult patient since my 3rd year of medical school, which is intimidating! Pediatric medicine is vastly different than adult medicine, especially when it comes to disease etiology, epidemiology and differential diagnoses. There are a number of different adult health problems and pathologies that I have to relearn and rewire my brain to think about again. I look forward to working with the adult neurology faculty and residents to help me remake those connections. I also am looking forward to really studying and understanding clinical neurology.

How did you first get interested in pediatric neurology? What do you enjoy most about this work?
When I was in medical school, I did a rotation in pediatric neurology and worked closely with a pediatric epileptologist, Dr. Scott Perry. I greatly respected him for his expertise, bedside manner, and interaction with his patients. He provided optimism in a seemingly hopeless situation. He acted as a conductor in an orchestra, directing the treatment modality and team of neurosurgeons. Through this rotation, I realized that pediatric neurology is a delicate, multidisciplinary specialty, in which therapy can deeply impact a patient’s development and profoundly influence a child’s quality of life. I admire its constant challenges, which inspire physicians to persevere and learn everyday.

What’s the most memorable or unusual experience that you’ve had during your time at Duke so far?
My pediatric patients are the most memorable part of residency. I was working on a hematology/oncology inpatient service, and I had an adorable two-year-old patient with neuroblastoma my intern year. I worked closely with her and her family. She was always full of energy and fun to interact with, and we would play various games while she was in the hospital. One day, I was pre-rounding and I went into her room. She was wearing a princess dress and had a wand in her hand and yelled “Abaracadabra!” while waving her wand. I asked her what she turned me into, and she responded, “A witch!” I’ve never been turned into a witch before! That was both memorable and unusual!

Another memorable part of my experience at Duke were my pediatric co-residents, faculty, and staff. I am so blessed to have an amazing support system and having a family away from home. I wouldn't have gotten through my pediatric training without them. I made some incredible friendships, and I am so grateful for the pediatric program for choosing the best co-residents I could ask for.

What do you plan on doing once you complete your training here at Duke? If you could choose any job in the world, what would it be?
I hope to become a pediatric epileptologist and follow in the footsteps of my mentor, Dr. Scott Perry at Cook Children’s. He has truly inspired me and has been a great role model. If I could have any job in the world, I’d be a Travel Channel host so I can constantly explore new places and cultures.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I enjoy figure skating, cooking/baking, running, and hiking. North Carolina has been a fun place to explore with plenty of hiking options, which I am thankful for! I also love taking my puppy, Chewie, on walks/runs or “carries” when he is tired.

Tran enjoys some quality time with Chewie and her boyfriend, Kyle Napier, a radiology resident at Duke.