Member of the Month: Kelly Bennett, MD
Professor has teaching, love of learning in her bones
By Samantha White
Kelly Bennett, MD, is an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and serves as co-medical director of the free clinic there. Having grown up with more than one teacher in the family, her desire to pass on knowledge comes naturally.
Who or what inspired you to become a family physician?
I went into medical school with really no clue what kind of doctor I wanted to be. As a third-year student I did not exactly enjoy my surgery three-month rotation or my internal medicine three-month rotation (dubbed ETERNAL medicine by myself). My next rotation in the spring of 1993 just so happened to be with Dr. Jimmy Randall who was the president of TAFP that year. He took me EVERYWHERE. I went to clinic with him. I went to the hospital with him. I went to policy meetings with him. In a few short weeks I experienced the full-fledged family medicine experience. He was the greatest influence on me in school and by the end of my rotation I wanted to be just like him!
Can you briefly describe your career path?
I went to college knowing that my best subjects were in the science fields and that I wanted to work with people on a day in and day out basis. Medicine seemed like the best way to combine a love of learning with a love to help people. I did different volunteer work and mission work while in college that cemented that pathway for me. Of course I was very surprised when I also realized that I had a real passion to teach. I enjoy teaching patients about their medical issues, but I also enjoy teaching premed undergraduates, medical students, and residents about patient care.
What ultimately drew you to teaching?
I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that I enjoyed teaching as my father taught high school and my grandmother taught elementary school. Growing up was an adventure is the best anecdote to convey what I want my students to learn about this issue. The desire to teach others came pretty naturally.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
I love seeing a student advance from no knowledge of health care to a full-fledged faculty member. I have several colleagues that I knew when they were undergraduates at Texas Tech who I helped in the premed society, until they eventually became one of our TTUHSC medical students, and then one of our HSC residents, to finally be hired as one of my colleagues.
What advice would you give to students and residents?
Find the area you love and keep doing that!
What do you enjoy doing outside of medicine?
Traveling to see and learn new things. When I need to just relax you will find me watching the Red Sox or Nationals. I also love reading historical fiction or mysteries and suspense and playing with my dogs (two black Labradors named Mac and Paden, and two Shelties named Duncan and Finn).
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at email@example.com or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.