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Spotlight: Susan Lopez, MD


Susan Lopez, MD

Tell us about your background prior to starting at RUSH.

I worked full time at Lurie Children’s and then went to Northeastern Illinois University in the evenings to complete the premedical prerequisites over the course of four years. I then was part of the postbaccalaureate admissions program at UIC and completed medical school at UIC College of Medicine.I applied to an internal medicine residency and matched at RUSH.

I’m excited to stay on as faculty and continue to be a part of the RUSH family! I identify as Mexican-American, a Chicagoan and proud of my family from Jalisco, Mexico. I was the first in my family to go to college and was very excited to go to the University of Michigan. I wanted to learn more about myself and culture, so I pursued a degree in Latino Studies. I had still always had the desire to pursue medicine, so I found a position at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago doing both quality improvement and clinical research, which would give me exposure to patients. Within the month of working, I had solidified my desire to pursue medicine.

What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine?

If you ask my mother, I’ve said I wanted to be a doctor since the age of 4 years old. But what really planted the seed of me being a physician was my grandmother. She was the matriarch of the family and brought the family together. She became very ill for many years with bullous pemphigoid while I was in college, and I took some time to go to Mexico to care for her, my great grandmother and my grandfather. It was hard work caring for her, dressing wounds, taking her to appointments. But the experience taught me that I could be there for someone in their time of need and how rewarding it was to be part of the reason they are feeling better.

What advice would you give someone who is considering medicine?

Communication is one of the most important things you can learn. In high school and college, you will need to communicate in order to ask questions and seek guidance on how to become a doctor. You should seek out a mentor and communicate with them about your goals. You will one day take care of someone and need to communicate with them in order to make a treatment plan together. You will need to communicate with the medical team and nurses that you will work with. Learn and foster your communication skills. It will serve you well, help strengthen your personal and professional relationships.

What are some of the community initiatives you have been involved or currently working on at RUSH?

I volunteer at Community Health Clinic (Chicago Avenue) to help with the RUSH Student Clinic. I love helping students gain confidence in the clinical setting while working with a mostly immigrant, underserved population. I am also passionate about diversity and inclusion efforts and supporting students and residents. I believe for many students and residents who are considered or identify as Underrepresented in Medicine (UiM) representation and support matter.

I assist with interviewing candidates for both the RUSH Internal Medicine Program and the RUSH Medical College. I am an executive member of the Admissions Committee at RUSH Medical College. I am co-advisor of the Latino Medical Student Association at RUSH and adviser to the RUSH Internal Medicine Residency Diversity and Inclusion Group. I look forward to continuing this very important work.

Please tell us a fun fact about you.

When I have time, I bake and decorate cakes with fondant. I’ve even had the honor of making a friend’s wedding cake, which was Dia de Los Muertos themed. The cake included both grooms and even their dog.