Shea-Lynn Hopson

Shea-Lynn HopsonName: Shea-Lynn Hopson
Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
Year in Medical School: M2
Undergraduate School: Northwestern University, Texas State University

Shea-Lynn Hopson is a second-year student at The University of Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. She is a career changer and started her journey into medicine by becoming an EMT-basic in Austin, Texas. Though she was born in Detroit, Michigan, she considers Evansville, Indiana her hometown. Shea-Lynn attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and has an interest in emergency medicine and urology.

Do you serve on any student interest groups/organizations/activities? If so, which one(s)?
I am the secretary for the UTRGV American Medical Association/Texas Medical Association (AMA/TMA) chapter, the academic chair for the Emergency Medicine Interest Group, and I serve on the student board of the UTRGV Student-Run Clinic.

What inspired you to become a doctor? When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?
I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. However, I grew up in a very challenging home environment that made pursuit of a career in medicine very difficult. I graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and then went to work as a tire designer for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. I worked for a year before returning to school at Washington University in St. Louis. There I earned an MBA with a concentration in finance. I was recruited by Dell technologies and this move brought me to Texas. After spending nine years at Dell, I still yearned to become a physician. I left Dell in 2014 and completed most of my pre-requisites at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Why did you choose UTRGV School of Medicine?
As a non-traditional student, I wanted to be able to serve patients as soon as possible. The appeal of the UTRGV SOM was in the focus on community health and community care. Having a chance to impact patient care right away was a big draw for me.

What specialties of medicine interest you the most? Why?
My time spent training as an EMT inspired an interest in emergency medicine. I like the versatility of the role and the variety of patient profiles and treatment strategies. As an African-American, I also feel a need to advocate for underrepresented communities that visit the ER. It is well documented that minorities often receive less pain medication and less attentive treatment than their majority peers.

What areas of research interest you the most? Why?
One area of research that strongly interests me is the impact of societal stressors on the health of underrepresented minorities. For example, in a presentation on HIV, we learned that white males that test positive may remain asymptomatic for up to 10 years. This figure was two years for African-American and Hispanic males. Understanding these differences can have a significant impact on treatment modalities and patient prognoses.