New York Medical College Med Student Named 2019 Promise of the Future Recipient
Future change maker Jennifer Lindelof dreams of providing great patient care and improving the lives of her fellow physicians by taking on the issue of physician burnout.
Fourth-year medical student at New York Medical College (NYMC) and president of the School of Medicine Student Senate, Jennifer Lindelof, has been named Westchester County Business Journal’s (WCBJ) 2019 Promise of the Future recipient, in recognition of her superior leadership capabilities and impressive commitment to serving her community. Awarded annually, The Promise of the Future accolade is part of the WCBJ’s Doctors of Distinction awards which seek to recognize excellence in medicine in Westchester.
With a personal commitment to always “leave a place better than she found it,” Ms. Lindelof embodies the spirit of the Promise for the Future Award. It’s a commitment modeled by her parents during her childhood in Chappaqua, New York, and a value that was reinforced by her teachers throughout her time at Horace Greeley High School. It’s a belief-system she has honed at NYMC where her desire to make a difference can be seen in her passion to improve the lives of her future patients and in the work she does on behalf of her fellow students to improve the medical education experience.
Elected president of the Student Senate as a third- year student (a role traditionally held by fourth- years), and re-elected again this year, Ms. Lindelof became NYMC’s first student president on record to serve two terms. Of her decision to commit so much time to serving her fellow students she says, “It was about making sure that I leave New York Medical College a better place than I found it.”
She helped create the College’s Resiliency Curriculum, the peer-run, peer-driven curriculum in which mental health professionals train upper-class students to run programs designed specifically for first-year medical students, serving as ‘resiliency mentors’ in peer-led sessions throughout the year. Topics include addressing self-doubt, going from surviving to thriving, and de-stigmatizing the act of asking for help. The goals of the Resiliency Curriculum are to foster a culture of open dialogue around mental health; equip students with the skills to better handle the stressors of medical school and beyond; and create a sense of support and connectedness across the four years in our community.
Another major initiative which Ms. Lindelof helped develop is NYMC’s Student Report Cards, a continuous quality improvement initiative which bolsters students’ abilities to voice their opinions, which in turn has helped elevate student-driven priorities.
Prior to enrolling at NYMC, Ms. Lindelof studied geology at Bates College in Maine and planned to become a climate scientist until she herniated two disks in her back while performing field work. This experience inspired her to change course, opting to pursue a career in medicine instead of climate science. “It was an eye-opening experience to see first-hand how doctors can make an immediate impact on their patients’ life,” she explains.
Ms. Lindelof has decided to specialize in urology after completing a rotation in ob/gyn at Westchester Medical Center. The experience, working with the urogynecologists, gave her the opportunity to provide care for patients who developed incontinence due to aging or child birth, and for whom common surgery often transformed their lives. “Rarely discussed yet more common than one might think, incontinence is debilitating and embarrassing –yet there is also so much that can be done for those patients. Beyond incontinence of urine, for male and females, urology encompasses this entire spectrum of illness from cancer to pediatric disease,” she explains.
As a future change maker in the field of medicine, Ms. Lindelof hopes to practice in Westchester, providing great care to her patients and service to other physicians. “I would like to be a leader in my community, in my hospital and in my field in a way that I am able to advocate for change,” she says. “Physician burnout is such a big issue these days and I think there's a lot that can be done if only we can redirect the right voices to the right policymakers, and work together to create new proposals aimed at helping physicians practice top-notch medicine without burning out. That's something I'm hoping to tackle in the future.”