Medical student earns thoracic surgery society scholarship

A second year UK medical student was awarded a scholarship from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons to attend its annual meeting in January. He was one of 30 medical students selected nationally for the honor and the only representative from the University of Kentucky.

Dwight Harris, II received notification in late November that he was among the medical students selected to receive one of the 2018 Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Looking to the Future scholarships for medical students. In recent years, he has worked as a research assistant for Dr. Alexis Shafii, a heart and lung transplant specialist at UK Healthcare, and Dr. Sibu Saha, division chief for UK Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Harris’ experience in the operating room observing atrial valve replacements (AVRs), bilateral lung transplants, and other cardiothoracic procedures fired his ambition to eventually become a thoracic surgeon. Since his first experiences in surgical rotation, he has since been invited by CT Surgery and Transplant faculty to scrub in and observe over 50 open heart surgeries, “coming in many times on weekends, nights, and during school breaks,” he said.

In his application letter to the STS, he noted the influence of Drs. Shafii, Saha, and Hassan Reda in his medical education.

“Dwight came to see me when he was a first year medical student. He expressed his interest to be a CT surgeon and asked for guidance. I am impressed by his hard work and intellectual investment in art and science of Surgery,” Dr. Saha commented following news of Harris’ scholarship.

The STS Looking to the Future scholarship will enable Harris to attend the 54th annual meeting of the society in January along with several faculty members from UK CT Surgery.