Dr. Samuel Parrish has dedicated more than 20 years of his career helping young doctors enter and successfully complete medical school. He joined UNLV School of Medicine as the senior associate dean for admissions and student affairs where he will coordinate the admissions and advising programs and student affairs for the new medical school.
Why are you passionate about helping the next generation of doctors?
Medicine is a rapidly changing field. I really enjoy helping the next generation of physicians prepare for a successful and rewarding career in this new challenging landscape. The opportunities for future physicians are tremendous. I believe it is incumbent upon us in leadership to help prepare medical students to address these changes in a way that is personally productive for individual students, as well as helpful for the patients these students have the privilege of serving in increasingly diverse communities.
Why did you become a doctor and what is your specialty?
I entered medical school as someone who was focused on learning the science of medicine. I initially planned on being a bench researcher working primarily in a lab. In my third year of medical school that changed. I found myself most happy when I was caring for children. The physicians and nurses I enjoyed working with the most also were in pediatrics. I figured if I was going to work for 20-plus years in a single specialty, I would be most productive and successful if I worked with the people I most enjoyed.
I trained as a pediatrician and pursued specialty training in the care of adolescents and young adults. My area of personal interest has been in working with patients who face the challenges of drug and alcohol use, focusing on prevention as well as early intervention for patients who have been impacted by these problems. Although quite challenging, this is a very rewarding area of practice.
What is the most important advice you give medical students?
I always advise students to remember why they became interested in a career in medicine. The process of medical study can be overwhelming, and remembering why one initially became passionate about a career in medicine helps to maintain balance and keep things in perspective.
What object in your office has significance for you and why?
I have a pink magic wand I was given by a former colleague when I first started working in student affairs. He challenged me to make the "magic happen" for students when things looked hopeless or overwhelming.
I've never run away from challenging students or problems and have always tried to be creative in finding solutions that facilitated student success. Seeing students overcome obstacles and personal failures and then succeed in medical school has reminded me that "magic happens" and I should never give up on a student.
Who is your hero?
My parents. They weren't able to attend college, but they were both so smart and talented, and inspired me to always do my best. The knowledge they believed in me carried me through some very difficult times in medical school and in residency training.
What's your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas?
I enjoy renovating older homes and am having great fun working on our home in one of the "old Vegas" neighborhoods.
What is your life's passion?
Helping students overcome obstacles and watching them succeed.
What is your favorite song? Food?
My favorite song is The Luckiest by Ben Folds. My favorite food is Cuban — ropa vieja.