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Events of September 11 shifted aspiring TV writer's career path to medicine

Posted at 11:24 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 00:24:08-04

The horrific events of 9/11 were a life-changing moment for one Wisconsin doctor.

On September 11th, 2001 Lisa Arkin was on a New York City subway headed to Tribeca for jury duty. At 9:01AM the train stopped, and the world as she knew it changed forever.

"There was no cell service really at all, and so, when they finally let us out, you know I saw what every other New Yorker saw," recalls Arkin. "The photographic and the video footage has been so imprinted on our memory."

Her career as a television writer for Showtime was just taking off, but the terrorist attack on American soil left her questioning her purpose.

"It must have been three or four months after I called my parents and said, you know I have good news, and I have bad news - I think I'm going to quit my job and go to medical school."

Eight years later, Lisa Arkin added MD to her name and grew her family from two to four. She is now a pediatric dermatologist and associate professor at UW Health in Madison.

"It just goes to show you, follow your dream, follow your passion. We can do anything we set our minds to, I mean human nature is really remarkable," said Dr. Arkin.

She admits the career switch was not an easy one, but it has given her the fulfillment she needed twenty years ago when she walked out of that New York City train station and saw the devastation unfolding behind her.

"Part of my joy is getting to heal and transform the life of a child, I mean it's what gives me the greatest pleasure every single day. It's why I love this job, day in and day out."

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