Trainee Stories: J.O. DeLancey, MD, MPH


I am J.O. DeLancey I am a fourth-year Urology resident
here at Northwestern, currently doing a research fellowship with the Surgical Outcomes and
Equality Improvement Center. The ultimate question that I liked to answer
with research is how we can improve the quality of care that we provide. That is important to me, because we see a
wide variation in care that patients receive based on where they go to seek care or
who they seek care with. My previous career was as a cancer epidemiologist,
looking at risk factors and ways to prevent and treat cancer. I think I have always looked to research as
a career option. I think it is a great way to go back and forth
between treating patients and then trying to solve some of the problems that you are
faced with in the clinic. I think that the medical field needs more
physician scientists, because it’s physician scientists that help push medicine forward. Training as a scientist and being a doctor
go hand in hand, because as a doctor you see all sorts of different kinds of patients,
and those patients can raise questions that you want to find the answers to, and the way
that you find those answers is through doing research. The reason that I chose urology was two-fold. It was a surgical subspecialty, and so a lot
of our training is in the operating room. I knew that I was interested in oncology,
and a large proportion of our patient population has cancer. The cancers that we see, if caught early enough,
can be cured. We get to follow patients for sometimes a number of
years, which is satisfying. My wife and I met when we were both in graduate
school in Atlanta. We moved to Michigan, where I went to medical
school. When I was interviewing for residencies, there
were a lot of things that interested me about Northwestern. The size of the institution and the number
of resources that are here, you could tell that people worked very well together across
different departments and disciplines. They have such a broad research enterprise
that allows you to find the type of research that fits you. During our residency we get a dedicated full
year of protected research time that is free of clinical duties, and you can really pursue
whatever research interests you have. I have found the program here to be really
supportive and it has really fostered a good work-life balance.

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