The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Finding Home with Medicine

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Penny Liu, the Director of Neuroanesthesia at Tufts Medical Center, Boston. She has been a specialist in the field for 10 years. She is also an assistant professor at Tufts Medical School.

  • [00:59] Dr. Liu’s Background and Medical Journey
  • [08:07] Why Neuroanesthesia?
  • [12:12] Qualities of a Prospective Doctor 
  • [17:41] How to Talk About Your Weaknesses in Interviews
  • [20:39] Dr. Liu’s Advice to Pre-meds and Medical Students 

Finding Home with Medicine: Neuroanethesia 

Dr. Liu did not have a specific preference for a specialization because she enjoyed all of her rotations. But she recalls having an “Aha!” moment after meeting anesthesiologists. She admired their professionalism and work life balance. Eventually, she chose anesthesiology because she found like-minded physicians that made her feel at home. Dr. Liu advises students and residents alike to notice how they feel after a rotation or interview. If they feel drawn to stay longer, then it may be a sign that they’d be a great fit in that position or place.  

After trying private practice, Dr. Liu switched to an academic practice to be in an environment of constant learning. She also missed caring for more critical patients. As a junior attending physician, she was assigned to liver anesthesiology but ended up learning more about neuroanesthesiology. 

What Admission Committees want to see in Students 

There is no perfect formula to be the best medical school candidate. What matters is that you are able to showcase sincerity, empathy, and humility in your own unique way. A doctor should be able to see through her patient’s eyes and should always be open to learning.  

When asked about setbacks, be honest about your experience. Explain what you’ve learned from hard moments. Interviewers want to know that you can ask for help when needed and that you have the capacity to grow from failure. 


Got questions, feedback, or suggestions? Send a message to Dr. Erkeda DeRouen’s Instagram or MedSchoolCoach’s Instagram

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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