Lekshmi Santhosh

University of California-San Francisco


Ladies, your voice matters, your work matters, and we need you in STEM.

What do you do?

I take care of patients with pulmonary (lung) problems and patients hospitalized in the hospital and in the intensive care unit. Additionally, I educate physician-educators, study how doctors-in-training learn best, and help run our training program for pulmonary and ICU fellows-in-training.

Why did you choose this field?

I have always enjoyed using "both sides of my brain." Medicine, with its mixture of intellectual discovery and deep empathy and appreciation of the human soul, always seemed a great fit. I fell in love with Internal Medicine while watching residents at "morning report", debating the intricacies of a differential diagnosis and wondering what best next steps to take to help a patient's care. Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine was a natural love as I was drawn to both "the forest and the trees" - seeing the details in a critically ill patient yet never losing sight of the big picture. Educational research has always been a passion of mine as I love direct teaching and wanted to explore how doctors-in-training learn best.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I graduated fellowship and joined junior faculty as the Associate Program Director of our Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellowship program. This is a dream job for me and I still wake up every day with gratitude and appreciation for all the amazing aspects of my job.

Why do you love working in STEM?

The variety in my job is incredible - I love counseling patients about smoking cessation, taking care of a critically ill patient in the ICU, writing a paper with respected colleagues about clinical reasoning, and helping fellows who are struggling with a dilemma find their way.

Best advice for next generation?

One of my mentors told me a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt "Never let someone make you feel inferior without your consent." My mentors always helped me combat impostor syndrome. Ladies, your voice matters, your work matters, and we need you in STEM.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Still, I rise." - Maya Angelou

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