WANT TO BE A NEW CHAPTER ALUMNI?
Apply online to share your accomplishments and endeavors.APPLY TO BE FEATURED
Charleston, South Carolina
Transplant Infectious Diseases
Medical University of South CarolinaVIEW PROFILE
Courtney Harris, M.D. (I ’19), has a passion for medical education, advocacy, and leadership. During her residency and chief residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, she helped to restructure the quality improvement curriculum for internal medicine residents and developed a lecture on career goal-setting and professional development. She also became involved with the American College of Physicians and helped create a council for residents and fellows in Minnesota’s four internal medicine training programs. During fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, she served on the American College of Physicians national Council of Resident/Fellows Member. This summer, she’s starting as a new program director for the transplant infectious disease fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina, recruiting their first transplant infectious disease fellow for 2024. She’s particularly interested in attracting more fellows into infectious disease careers to help address the national shortage of ID physicians.
“Choosing Mayo for my residency was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It connected me to great mentors and unparalleled clinical training; taught me how to communicate with others and present myself as an effective clinician and researcher; and set me up for success as an infectious disease fellow during the pandemic.“
Where are you from?
I was born in Rochester, Minnesota; we moved to Northfield, Minnesota, when I was 5. I grew up there.
How did you become interested in medicine?
I had severe allergies in childhood and told my parents at age 3 that I was going to become a doctor and find a cure for allergies.
What led you to Mayo Clinic?
My mom felt unwell about a year after she gave birth to me. Her doctors at the time repeatedly brushed off her concerns. She continued to feel sick, so my dad took her to Mayo Clinic, where she was diagnosed with and treated for thyroid cancer. Having that experience in our family made me want to train at Mayo.
What valuable lesson did you learn at Mayo Clinic?
I’m only one member of a patient’s care team. We have incredible greeters, administrative support staff, pharmacists, and other team members working closely together to do what’s best for the patient. The best patient care comes from a strong team with the goal of putting patients first.
Who were your mentors at Mayo Clinic?
Amy Oxentenko, M.D. (I ’01, CMR ’02, GI ’05), Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was my residency program director. She’s a role model for how to be an effective leader and believed in me when many others did not. She continues to be one of my closest mentors.
Pritish Tosh, M.D. (I ’06, INFD ’09), Division of Infectious Diseases, is an incredible sponsor and mentor who taught me about being a leader in medical education and trainee recruitment.
What do you miss about Mayo Clinic?
I miss the coordination of care — things that happen so effortlessly at Mayo and make for truly patient-centered health care experiences.
I’m incredibly grateful for the time I spent at Mayo Clinic. Choosing Mayo for my residency was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It connected me to great mentors and unparalleled clinical training; taught me how to communicate with others and present myself as an effective clinician and researcher; and set me up for success as an infectious disease fellow during the pandemic.
Tell us what you do now.
I just finished my third year of fellowship in infectious diseases, focusing the last two years on immunocompromised/transplant infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
I will be starting at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston this summer, where I was appointed as director of the infectious disease cardiac transplant program and program director for the transplant infectious disease fellowship. I will practice transplant infectious disease with the goal to help our program grow and flourish.
There’s a national shortage of infectious disease physicians. Through my program director role, I hope to recruit more fellows into infectious diseases and transplant infectious diseases. Being able to hone my skills in medical education and curriculum is part of my dream job.
I also am part of Women in Academia Valuing Equity (WAVE). We meet regularly to mentor and sponsor other members. I met our leader Dr. Julie Silver during her time as our visiting professor at Mayo during my chief year. She is tracking the group’s effectiveness in influencing the careers of our members, as many of these collaborations have led to publications and career-lasting connections.
What are your career goals?
I want to grow and advance the field of transplant infectious disease to advance care for our transplant patients. I want to lead others, whether in a training program or division/department, to help the next generation of physicians thrive in their careers.
What’s your advice for trainees?
Early in training, work on finding your passion for your nonclinical time and lean into it. Whether it’s medical education, advocacy, research, or administration/leadership, find mentors and sponsors who can help you cultivate your passion.
What are you most proud of on your CV?
I received the Kass Award for Clinical Excellence from the Massachusetts Infectious Disease Society in 2022. The award recognizes fellows for clinical skills and advocacy for patients, and I felt incredibly honored to receive it.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m an avid reader and love a good book club. I am very busy caring for our 1-year-old son. We enjoy traveling with him. I also play golf and tennis.
How do you balance work and non-work time?
It’s an ongoing struggle. I continue to work to define boundaries of work and family time. My strategy is trying to keep work at work and home at home. I try to get all my work done before I go home. When my son is awake, I put away my phone and focus on our time together. I often do some work after he’s asleep.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I made a brief foray into rapping in my teenage years. I gave my high school commencement address and rapped at the end of it. I have since retired.
See past New Chapter stories here.