Dr. Meredith Chapman is an associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the medical director of the Consult Liaison Service at Children’s Health – Dallas. She also works in the GENECIS Program for children with gender dysphoria.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Meredith Chapman)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Meredith Chapman)

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“Children that experience gender dysphoria are at a greater risk for depression, self-harm, homelessness and acts of violence toward them,” said Chapman. Chapman provides assessments and recommendations for care, family and community support. She became a nursing assistant, then earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgetown College and her master’s degree from the University of Louisville. She shares her educational path.

Why did you pursue your chosen degrees? 

“I’ve always been passionate about standing up for others who might not be able to do so for themselves and making my mark the only way I know how, which is to relate to another person. Going to medical school wasn’t actually my idea; my father guided me in that direction by enrolling me in a certified nursing assistant course. Once I completed the program and started working in the health care profession, I had found my calling.”  

What would you tell others who are considering pursuing a higher degree? 

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“Becoming an MD or pursuing any other terminal degree requires unfaltering enthusiasm, sacrifice and focused dedication. You don’t think of it as “work” when you are energized by your profession and love what you do. Even on my hardest days I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced while pursuing your degree? 

“The biggest challenge was finding balance. Often you must choose between what you need to do verses what you want to do. Being able to take care of yourself physically and emotionally is the first step in caring for others.”

What was the biggest reward for earning your degrees? 

“The biggest reward is being invited into someone’s life and having the opportunity to positively impact the trajectory of their future.”

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com