Jose Fernando Chavez, MD
"My father, who was born in Mexico, and mother had never received an education beyond elementary, and their struggle as migrant workers was a constant reminder of how difficult life could be without one. Growing up, these experiences strongly motivated me to pursue an education and later a career in medicine."
Tell us more about your background.
I was raised in a migrant family who traveled throughout most of California in search of fieldwork before settling in Idaho where I was raised up until middle school. I graduated from Stanford University with an honors thesis in neurobiology. I was an active member of the Latino ’06 Class Council, and proud member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. I attended UT Southwestern Medical Center for medical school and was elected Vice-President of my class during second year. I had great research opportunities at UT Southwestern and excellent clinical training at Parkland Memorial Hospital – a county hospital providing care largely to the indigent population throughout DFW.
How do you achieve work-life balance as an intern?
One of the ways I’ve been able to achieve work-life balance as an intern has been to declare my days off as ‘date-nights’ with my fiancé, which usually consist of dinner and a movie. We try and visit the gym at least twice a week, and I also try to spend a few hours on the weekend reviewing board questions to break a mental sweat too.
Where can we find you after work?
I enjoy visiting the gym mostly to run, which helps to de-stress and take my mind off work. It is one of the few times I get to listen to any new music. I really try and listen to all genres, but right now I really enjoy electronic and the indie-music scene. I also practice playing acoustic guitar whenever I have chance, but ultimately I need formal lessons at this point. I really enjoy playing soccer and baseball, and at least once a year my fiancé and I plan a ski trip to somewhere we have never visited (this year Utah)! Places we love to go out to eat in Chicago include Cozy Noodle in Lakeview for excellent Thai food, Yolk for brunch, Peace for some really good pizza, and of course Chick-fil-A in Wisconsin for those tasty waffle fries (the drive is part of the experience).
What are your clinical and research interests?
I became interested in the field of cardiology early during medical school. I participated in cardiology basic science research in the lab of Dr. J. Hill during fourth year of medical school. Our abstract titled ‘Mitochondrial DNA Loss in Load-Induced Heart Failure’ was accepted to the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2009 in Orlando, FL. Thus far in my intern year, I have discovered I really enjoyed performing procedures. For that reason, I am interested in pursuing a career that is more procedural-based within cardiology. Currently, I am participating in a clinical research project with Drs. J. Flaherty, J. Fox, and N. Johnson examining ECG ST vectors and their correlation with coronary angiogram findings.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I would love to be working in an academic center and still be actively involved in research, participating in various teaching opportunities, and in a location working to improve access to health care. Ideally, I would like to practice in my hometown in South Texas where there currently are no such centers. Helping to establish such an institution and improving health care outcomes in this area would be my ultimate goal.
I chose NW for several reasons, including excellent patient care and world-class research opportunities. However, my interaction with the housestaff and Dr. Wayne and DOM staff on my visit was the greatest motivating factor for choosing NW. And since arriving, everyone has been extremely helpful and great to work with, making the transition of living from Dallas to Chicago very easy!