Emily Herndon, MD, FAAFP
Undergrad Institution; Degree and Major:
BS in Biology, Emory University
Emory University School of Medicine
In practice since:
1992; 2 years private practice, 21 years with Emory (clinical-20 years at Grady, 1 year at Student Health; teaching students and residents since 1998)
Where and for how many years did you train AFTER medical school:
3 year residency, Florida Hospital, Orlando FL
How did you choose your specialty?
It is hard to see what family physicians really do when your only exposure is in an academic setting, so I purposely sought experiences where I could work with practicing community family doctors. I loved the breadth of what they could do, the various office procedures (dermatology, GYN, orthopedics) and most importantly the relationships that they built over time with entire families and communities. At the time, I was also interested in global health/medical missions, and of all the primary care specialties, family medicine seemed to be the most useful in that you could see patients of all ages and was not limited to one organ system.
What do you like MOST, and like LEAST, about your specialty?
Besides the things I've already mentioned, the other aspect of Family Medicine is that it is so flexible. I use to think being a family doctor meant opening up your own practice and working in an outpatient clinic. Though that is rewarding for many of us, you may also decide that you want to do a fellowship in women's health, sports medicine, global health, preventive medicine, research, etc. I have colleagues who do research at the CDC, are medical directors of large county health departments, practice flight medicine, or globe-trotting around the world doing locum tenens. It really is the equivalent of the liberal arts degree in medicine, and your practice can evolve as you do.
In your opinion, what attributes are important in anyone choosing this specialty?
I love to read fiction, do yoga, travel, and my way through the variety of Atlanta's local and ethnic restaurants.