Maxfield Flynn, MD, PhD
- PSTP Candidate
- PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology (NU ‘07)
- Full & Half Marathon Runner
- Click here to view pdf
"I love to read on topics outside of medicine, especially from mainstream sources like Wired, The New York Times, or The Economist. Thinking about other fields helps me bring more creativity to medicine."
Tell us about your PSTP experience at Northwestern.
The PSTP has been an excellent experience for me so far. I’ve met quite a few of the other residents, fellows, and graduates from the medicine program and they’re an inspiring group of people. Quite a few of them, particularly Dan Toft, Brian Layden, and Wenyu Huang, in the endocrinology department have been an invaluable source of advice and encouragement.
My favorite thing about the Medicine Residency in general is the collaborative and cooperative environment we work in. This is perhaps most obvious among interns and residents working nightfloat or overnight calls on the floor and the ICUs. The times I have asked for help, I have always been amazed by the empathy and generosity of my colleagues. This inspires me to do the same for others when they’re having a bad night.
Why did you pick Endocrinology as a career?
I first became interested in endocrinology during my undergraduate training at Tulane University. I worked in the lab of a professor who studied growth hormone and he allowed me to present my work at the Endocrine Society meeting my senior year.
I loved the mix of basic science and clinical medicine I experienced at that meeting and how easily science and medicine overlap within endocrinology. I also love the wide variety of problems and questions that are explored in endocrinology: how hormones impact virtually every organ of the body and every stage of life.
Looking back at my intern year, ....
As a student at Northwestern, I was in awe of my residents... they seemed to constantly know what to do in any situation. Starting intern year, I was worried that I would be expected to know everything and function completely independently in patient care. The opposite is actually true. The approach to medicine is, by necessity, an interdisciplinary team approach. I’ve learned an incredible amount over the last two years (from residents, nurses, social workers, discharge planners). But perhaps the most important skill I acquired was knowing when and where to turn for help.
My family is mostly artists and teachers so I didn’t know anything about medicine growing up. For a long time I thought I’d be a cartoonist or a writer. I became more interested in scientific research in highschool and college which eventually lead me into medicine.