Monday, September 7, 2020

Introducing the 2020-2021 AFP Jay Siwek Medical Editing Fellows: Dr. Natasha Pyzocha

Jennifer Middleton, MD, MPH

It's my pleasure to introduce our second 2020-2021 Jay Siwek Medical Editing FellowDr. Natasha Pyzocha, whose fellowship year also began on June 1. Here are some highlights from a recent interview:

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised in a small town in New Hampshire and my childhood was filled with memories of adventuring outdoors. I enjoyed the sciences and thought I’d become a palentologist, veterinarian, or doctor. After tearing my anterior cruciate ligament playing soccer, I enjoyed seeing the impact that doctors could have on an individual. I shadowed our local Family Physician, volunteered in domestic and international hospitals, and during college fell in love with the profession. I always had an interest in the military as well, so I joined the Army through the Health Professions Scholarship and attended medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.

After medical school I was fortunate enough see many parts of the world. Most notably, I enjoyed my time during residency in Washington and as a Flight Surgeon in Colorado. Treating soldiers and their families was the best, but running aid stations with my medics and flying in helicopters was awesome as well. During my time in the Army, I also worked with the World Class Athlete Program and now continue to volunteer with the United States Olympic Committee. I’ve enjoyed teaching medics, medical students, peers, or anyone will listen throughout my various jobs and am currently working as adjunct faculty at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. My most recent employer is a primary care telemedicine company and I’ve enjoyed the technical component of modernizing medicine.


2. What got you interested in medical editing and writing?

In residency, part of the graduation requirement was scholarly activity, so as an intern in an attempt to knock out my preconceived notion of a ‘check the box’ event, I fell in love with being able to learn from others and make an impact on education. Many of my Army residency faculty were so inspirational that I owe my initial interest efforts to them. I still continue to collaborate with some of these physicians on a regular basis! Even though the writing requirement is no longer there, I’ve continued to enjoy it so much I sought out the fellowship.


3. What are you hoping to get out of the fellowship?

Personally, I aim to refine the skills I have in both writing and editing by learning from a highly experienced editorial team. Writing for the different departments for AFP will increase my ability to think outside the box and become intimately involved in different styles of writing. Ultimately though, I hope to make an impact and inspire other Family Physicians to become leaders in writing. 


4. Is there anything else you'd like AFP readers to know about you?

In my free time I enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, and paddleboarding with my husband, two year-old daughter, and two dogs. I’m looking forward to safe travel again in the future! I am a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and also am a physician volunteer with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.