Get to know Dr. Jacob Graham, PGY-V fellow in hematology and oncology. Here, Dr. Graham shares about his path back to UMMC for fellowship and what he’s learned along his way.
First, tell us about you.
I’m a second-year heme/onc fellow. I’m from Jackson, went to Jackson Academy for fourteen wonderful years, followed by Mississippi College, UMMC School of Medicine, and UMMC internal medicine. I moved with my wife and our then only daughter to Birmingham for palliative care fellowship directly after residency and moved back to Mississippi and family as quickly as possible. We had another three children in Hattiesburg, where I helped start the inpatient palliative care consult service. After six years there, we finally decided the time was right to move back for heme/onc fellowship.
When did you know you wanted to do hematology/oncology?
My dad is an oncologist and my hero, so I think I was predestined to go in this direction, though I skirted around the edges of heme/onc for seven years with my palliative care training and practice.
What do you like most about UMMC?
I love how attached people get to UMMC. I was gone for seven years, and when I came back, it’s like I never left. It’s nice to have consistency rather than a steady stream of people coming and going. I don’t like to lose old friends/role models, and at UMMC, I often don’t.
What advice would you give the interns?
Have a good time, look for the gray in every person and situation (it’s rarely black and white), and engage with patients and co-workers as a human being first and as a professional second. And read, but not just medical literature. The House of God and My Own Country are a couple of personal favorites.
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on without preparation?
The novels of Walker Percy (especially The Moviegoer and Love in the Ruins). Ask me in five years, and I’ll hopefully say the novels of Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain was recommended to me by the late, great Dr. Swink Hicks and is the best book I’ve ever read).
What is something you wish you knew more about?
Civil War history. I’m incredibly ignorant for a native Mississippian. I plan to listen to Shelby Foote’s three-volume narrative history on the subject on Audible, hopefully by the end of fellowship.
What are some small things that make your day better?
Walking to Aladdin’s for lunch is #1. Reading anything but medical literature is #2. And, when it’s not too hot, escaping the noise the 8-, 6-, and 4-year-old girls generate by strolling the soon-to-be 2-year-old boy for forty-five minutes…or an hour and forty-five minutes (while listening to a novel on Audible).
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.
I’m addicted to reading. Just kidding, people know this. Maybe not a surprise, but I was a big band nerd from sixth to twelfth grade. The personal accomplishment of which I’m the proudest is becoming the first-chair French horn in the Mississippi All-State Lions Band my senior year (and skipping out on the trip because I hated marching in parades).
I love this young man! I’ve watched him grow from a kid in high school to an amazing man, husband and father. He will be the calm in someone’s storm. I look forward to seeing him grow even more.