A talented violinist with a dual degree from Northwestern University and a Midwesterner since the age of ten, Thomas Parisi always believed his path would lead him to be a concert musician. All of that changed when Thomas was in high school and diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The extensive surgery and the attention of an exceptional care team changed Thomas's life and ultimately his career path.
Why did you choose medicine as a career?
"Deciding to become a doctor was a very personal choice. Ever since I was young, I thought I would become a concert musician - but during high school I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. My disease progressed rather quickly, ending up in my having surgery to remove my large-intestine.The fact that I could have this major organ removed from my body, yet still function rather well amazed me, and made me want to go into medicine."
When choosing your school, how did Mayo Medical School differentiate itself?
"I chose Mayo Medical School based on how I was treated as a patient at Mayo Clinic. I believe I would have received a great education at any school I attended, but the physicians at Mayo truly practice the philosophy of putting the patient first. I remember when I was sick, my doctor called me while he was on vacation in Hawaii just to see how I was doing. I believe having that philosophy instilled in me since day one of my medical education will make me a better doctor."
What surprised you about MMS?
"What really surprised me about MMS was the sheer volume of the opportunities that Mayo Clinic offers. Throughout my brief tenure at Mayo, I have had the opportunity to participate in clinical and basic science research. I have had the opportunity to go on mission trips to Haiti. Also, I had the opportunity to attend law school through Arizona State University."
What is your goal after all of this?
"My goal is to practice medicine in an academic center where I can further pursue my interests in clinical and legal research. I have not completely decided on which specialty to pursue, but am hoping to have a surgical career. My legal research focuses on the intersection of law and medicine; more specifically on how different laws affect how we practice medicine."