Becca Tisdale

"I wanted to return to Stanford because of the tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration. My work is inherently interdisciplinary - involving concepts, tools, and people from medicine, public policy, global public health, and computer science."

Becca Tisdale is a first-year resident
Photo by Norbert von der Groeben

As a Palo Alto native and Stanford undergraduate, Becca Tisdale, MD, was pretty sure that her next step should be abroad. In Paris and London she acquired a Master of Public Affairs degree, which she felt would be foundational given her interest in working at the cross-roads of health policy, medicine, and global public health. Her two-year experience in Europe exposed her to an internship with the French National Health Authority, which implements health policy in France, and gave her an opportunity to work with DFiD in the UK on a project about the cost of protecting against malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

With that extensive background, she attended medical school at Columbia and chose Stanford for her current phase of training as a first-year resident in Internal Medicine. One of her main attractions to Stanford was the “built-out global health curriculum and resources for residents to do clinical work and research in developing countries.”

Another strong pull toward Stanford was the tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration. With seven schools housed on a single campus, Becca is able to find like-minded people nearby with expertise in disciplines she seeks to collaborate with: computer science, public policy, medicine and global public health. She also appreciates the access to mentorship and to research opportunities that she will need for the next phase of her career.

Becca especially likes how important it is in global health “to consider the full bio-psycho-social context of any health or medicine intervention-–it is full of unexpected twists and you get to learn so much about other cultures and how they approach health.” She was able to see this firsthand when she spent the summer following her first year of medical school in Ethiopia studying their HIV clinics.

Today her day-to-day life is ruled by her rotations, which change every 2-4 weeks. She begins at 7 a.m. seeing her current patients and meeting new ones. Several hours later she rounds with her team, focusing on updated plans for patients. After a learning conference, which spotlights a single patient case presented by one resident, there is a lunchtime conference with a guest speaker on a current topic in medicine. Afternoons are patient-centered: writing progress notes, meeting with patients and their families, making subspecialty consults, and doing any needed procedures for patients.