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Division of Gastroenterology
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic in FloridaVIEW PROFILE
Victoria Gómez, M.D. (I ’11, GI ’14, GIAE ’15), is from Texas by way of Santiago, Chile, trained at Mayo Clinic in Florida and in Rochester, and assumed she’d return to Texas, where her parents live. But the appeal of the Jacksonville area and the “dream job” intervened, and she’s on staff in GI endoscopy at Mayo Clinic. In addition to her regular practice, she pioneered a bariatric endoscopy practice that expanded this fall.
My husband, Cameron Adkisson, M.D. (S ’13), and I both grew up in Texas and met in medical school in Texas. We always thought we’d settle in our home state. We came to Mayo Clinic in Florida for residency, fell in love with the area and got our dream jobs here. My husband is a general and endocrine surgeon in private practice.
We were apart for a year during his endocrine surgery fellowship in Pittsburgh. It’s awesome to be done with training and be settled in a place we love.
I’m one of nine physicians in the Section of Interventional Endoscopy who perform special GI procedures including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), and therapeutic colonoscopy and endoscopy. Currently, I am the only physician who performs both ERCP and EUS, which enables me to perform highly specialized procedures that require a combination of both skill sets. Mayo Clinic in Florida is a large pancreas center, so many of our procedures aim to diagnose and stage pancreatic tumors and cysts as well as esophageal and rectal cancers.
I love the patients I treat. They’re usually very sick with cancer or bad infections. Being able to improve their quality of life is very gratifying.
I also helped to develop the bariatric endoscopy program on the Jacksonville campus in collaboration with our bariatric clinic. We provide endoscopic procedures for weight loss, such as intragastric balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. I trained in these procedures during my advanced endoscopy fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and worked with our physicians and administrators to offer these procedures in Florida. We see many patients who want to lose weight but who cannot or will not undergo bariatric surgery due to issues including not qualifying for surgery, fear about surgery or significant medical comorbidities that preclude a safe operation. These less invasive procedures are good options for motivated patients.
I work with great physicians and staff at Mayo. We’re fortunate to have abundant resources and a collegial mindset. We reach out to other specialties without hesitation, and the flow of patient care is amazing. The priority at Mayo is to do as much as we can for the patient in the most efficient manner possible.
I wanted to learn specialized endoscopic procedures, so I pursued another fellowship there. It was the best year of my training. Mayo in Rochester is a high-volume endoscopic center, and I was the only advanced fellow. I got incredible firsthand experience in terms of volume and pathology.
My husband took a locum tenens position in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and Hibbing, Minnesota, during my year in Rochester. He would be gone for two to three weeks and then home for a week. Because I had so much time to myself, I trained for a marathon that year and stayed very busy with my clinical research endeavors.
We have to communicate very well about our schedules. We have a beautiful baby boy, Andrés, who is almost 1 and has brought more joy to our lives than ever imagined. He’s on a good schedule. We eat dinner early with him, he goes to sleep at 7 p.m. (at least for now) and then we have time for ourselves in the evening. I try not to bring work home with me. It’s important to decompress. I thought separating work from home life was going to be very challenging but, actually, it was easier than expected. Knowing our son is waiting to see us in the afternoon is a special feeling. Once we are home with him, we start or other full-time jobs!
I’m on call every sixth weekend or so with my GI fellow and also take weekend ERCP call for 50 percent of half of the weekends in a year. My husband is on call every fourth night of the week and one weekend a month. Good communication and reviewing one another’s schedules ahead of time are key.
We are fortunate to have two wonderful nannies who care for our son dearly and only speak Spanish to him. When we leave for work in the morning, the last thing we do is worry about Andrés’ well-being. It’s fun coming home at the end of the day and playing with him.
Some of the women in the GI department have shared their experience about how to find family time, how to prioritize and let some things go, and how to work well with a nanny. Mayo has been a blessing in terms of work-home life balance. We are very busy, but there has never been an issue if I had to leave work early. I feel supported. Everyone realizes how important family is.
I have a five-year plan that includes solidifying my niche in clinical research and practice, pursuing academic promotion, expanding the bariatric endoscopy practice and expanding our family. I want to get back in to running and complete more half and full marathons. I never thought I’d be able to run more than a few miles. Then I realized you can put in long distances and survive! It’s thrilling. I enjoy meeting runners at different stages of life.
See past New Chapter stories here.