Member Spotlight: Mary Lacy, MD


Mary Lacy, MD
Associate Residency Program Director
Associate Clerkship Director
University of New Mexico School of Medicine

How long have you been a member of AAIM?

I joined AAIM when I became the Associate Clerkship Director at the University of New Mexico in July of 2017. Since then, I have learned so much from the resources AAIM offers for both the clerkship and the residency program.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Truly, the variety. Something in my new role as an APD that I really love is hearing from residents directly about what needs to be better – whether it be during my time on wards or in an advisee meeting - and coming up with practical pathways to make improvements. We may not get there quickly and it may not be perfect, but I really love trying to drive those improvements in an iterative way.

How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?

In so many ways. I went to Fall APDIM last year (2019) and loved the pre-course for new program/associate program directors. It was so great to see my own program director from residency (Ken Steinberg) kick start that meeting and then to have another program director share a very inspiring story about a preliminary resident who had decided to stay in medicine and transferred programs – particularly because I slowly realized this resident was one of my own advisees! Another thing I appreciated at that meeting was that AAIM felt like an organization where there were so many incredibly accomplished women helping to lead the way and inspire us all. In terms of resources, I’ve really appreciated that AAIM helped me figure out how to restructure our departmental letters in a standardized way, how to teach sub-interns, and most recently how to take on chairing our Program Evaluation Committee.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career as a physician?

It wasn’t until my senior year of college. I actually thought I wanted to be a tax attorney from the time I was 4 until I went to college – not that I really knew anything about what a tax attorney did! At some point in college I realized that I liked science and then reflected on my mom’s career as a home health nurse working closely with patients and put the whole picture together.

What or Who inspires you and why?

Ultimately, I would say my grandmother is my hero and was a huge inspiration in my life. She taught me very early on about the importance of education, compassion, and had a remarkable thirst for learning. She also came to pick me up from kindergarten during nap time since I hadn’t yet developed an appropriate respect for naps.

What advice would you give to those who wish to pursue a career in this industry?

I feel like most of the advice I feel comfortable giving at this stage in my career is usually derived from getting to know people and understanding their own frame and stage of life. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about mindsets and the imposter syndrome. I think I went through a lot of my training afraid to speak up out of fear of being wrong and, thus, exposed. I tended to just put my head down, work really hard, and try to learn and progress in that way. I think normalizing these feelings and talking about my own experiences navigating them can be helpful for some people at earlier stages in this journey.

What is your favorite book or movie?

Recently I loved reading Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob. It managed to be funny, thought-provoking, painful, and tender. As a soon to be mom, it made me think about all the difficult conversations parents face with their children, and in particular how systemic racism can amplify that.