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Resident Spotlight: Marjorie Kilgore, MD

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Second-year resident Marjorie Kilgore, MD, first became interested in neurology during her first-year neuroscience class. This interest grew and developed as she later started working with a support group for patients with Parkinson’s disease. In this week’s Spotlight interview, Kilgore talks to us about these interests and discusses her current work managing general neurology patients. She also discusses her own life outside of Duke, from owning a golden retriever that weighs more than she does, to her previous work as an intern zookeeper, to her passion for international medicine.

What are your current responsibilities as a PGY-2 resident? What does your average work day look like?
I am currently rotating through the general neurology service. I manage my own patients while helping to care for the team as a whole with the help of an intern and a chief resident. I arrive at 7 AM, round on my patients, and then we round as a team that morning. The afternoon is the time to get notes written, check back on the patients, make sure that procedures and imaging studies that need to be done are taken care of. We also use that time to prepare anticipatory guidance for the night team. We alternate a weekend off with a weekend during which we work a 24 hour shift (Saturday->Sunday).

How did you first get interested in neurology as a field? What about the field interests you the most?
I first became interested in neurology when learning about the nervous system in my first year of medical school. I had always found psychology interesting but had never really experienced neuroscience until that year and was relieved when I found a topic that I actually looked forward to studying. In my second year of medical school, I became involved in a Parkinson’s Disease support group and that was when I fell in love with the patients and realized how scary and incomprehensible a neurological diagnosis can be to patients. In my third year of medical school, I was able to put together the science of neurology with patient care and that was when I confirmed that this was my future.

Many different aspects of neurology have caught my interest at different times, however I am trying to be as open minded as possible in my second year because I am still not sure where I see myself ending up long term (in regards to specialty). End-of-life care has always been important to me and I look forward to incorporating it into whatever field I end up going into.

What has been the most memorable part of your residency experience so far?
The most memorable parts of my residency experience have been the people (residents, faculty, and patients) as well as the incredible pathology that we see at Duke.

What’s surprised you the most about living in Durham? What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?
Durham is the largest city I have ever lived in, so that alone has been an eye-opening experience. It has been fun exploring the area and I hope to branch out and see more of Raleigh and Chapel Hill during my time here as well. The dining options are incredible here. I have a few favorites, the best meal I have had was at Vin Rouge, the coolest environment with great food would be Viceroy, and my “go to” restaurant has certainly been Dashi.

Your internal medicine profile mentions that you have a Saint Bernard. How did you end up choosing such a pet? What’s the most surprising element of being a Saint Bernard owner?
When I was a senior in high school, I trained an assistance dog (golden retriever/lab mix) for my senior project. This was an incredible experience and allowed me to use my passion for animal training for good. When thinking about getting a dog I wanted an intelligent, easy-to-train breed and was thinking about a German Shepherd or Doberman Pinscher. I came home Easter of 2012 to the exact opposite of that sitting on my now husband’s lap in a puppy sized tie, that was how I got my Saint Bernard, Sully (named after the Monsters Inc character). My husband had grown up with Saint Bernard and loved the breed and knew that I would fall in love with that 8 lb ball of fur. He now weighs 20x as much as he did with a puppy but I have been most surprised by how loving saint bernards are, they are truly gentle giants and I plan on having many more in the future, and yes, the slobber is worth it.

What non-Saint Bernard-related passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
Some little known facts about me include my passion for animal training, I always planned on being an exotic animal trainer when I grew up and actually worked at the Pittsburgh Zoo as an intern zookeeper prior to starting medical school, during which time I was able to train a skunk, beavers, otters, and sea lions.

I did not play many sports growing up because I was dedicated to barrel racing, a horseback sport most often seen at rodeos. I also played the oboe until I graduated college and plan to continue playing (hopefully more) in the future. Lastly, I have a passion for international medicine, which is how I met my husband of 4.5 years, Jacob, who is a pediatric infectious disease fellow at Duke. I have been to Honduras six times on medical brigades with my father, an optometrist and also hope to be involved in international healthcare in the future.

Kilgore poses during one of her visits to Honduras.

Kilgore enjoying a moment off with Sully.