“I like the practice of gastroenterology. I call it the "happy specialty." People don't usually die, and I often find myself interacting with three generations, grandmother, mother, and daughter, which I find rewarding.”
“PRACTICING MEDICINE ACROSS THE GENERATIONS”
Sheila Levin took an unusual route on her journey to become a physician. Although she had always wanted to be a doctor, she grew up in the projects in Queens (New York) and her family couldn't afford to help her with medical school. They encouraged her to be a teacher, "a nice secure job." Adhering to their wishes, she got her master's degree in mathematics and taught math to 7th, 8th, and 9th graders for seven years. "But I couldn't get medicine out of my system," said Levin.
So she started making up the science credits she lacked as an undergraduate. Levin quit chemistry 10 times, before she finally persisted with organic chemistry course (which involved 140 mile round trip 3 days a week between her home and the university) and received an A for her efforts. She then applied to 25 medical schools and was turned down by all 25. The next year she applied to 25 more schools. Accepted at four, she chose to attend Tufts University School of Medicine.
Although not many women doctors choose to go into gastroenterology, Levin enjoys her specialty choice. She said it allows her to build relationships with her patients.
Levin was Chief of Gastroenterology for the Greater D.C. area, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan before joining a private practice. She was also the past Chair of the Gastroenterology at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and has been named to Washingtonian Magazine's "Best Doctor" List three times.
Chief, Gastroenterology Division, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States
Tufts University School of Medicine