Emergency room residency to follow stints in politics, journalism, teaching

Credit: John Leschofs/VAS Beau Briese

Beau Briese celebrates his Stanford Hospital residency assignment.

From business to politics to even a gig working for a talk-radio host, graduating medical student Beau Briese dabbled in a little bit of just about everything before choosing medicine.

During the 2006 campaign for governor in California, Briese, 30, worked as a speech writer for Arnold Schwarzenegger; while an undergraduate studying economics and statistics at Harvard, he was a researcher for former Second Lady Tipper Gore and interned for Time magazine; he took a year off from college to teach in Los Angeles; after college, he started a tutoring company and worked for the Boston Consulting Group.

'I always kept medicine in mind, but I wanted to explore every other career opportunity before making a decision,' Briese said. He'll be working as an emergency medicine resident at Stanford following graduation, in part, because of the range of patients and maladies that come through the hospital. 'I love all kinds of medicine,' he said. 'In emergency medicine you see adults and children, the young and old, rich and poor. Everyone. I won't be restricted to one area of medicine or one type of person.' He's thrilled to be able to stay at Stanford.

'Here, I've been through some of the most beautiful and awful moments of my life, often at the same time, and had my values challenged and strengthened by the quandary of how to help others,' Briese said. 'It takes a special kind of instruction to build physicians prepared for the responsibility of taking a patient's life into their own hands. Stanford provided it.

'The instructors have given me the humility to confront my limitations and the encouragement to extend their boundaries. I now understand that medicine is more than knowing protocols, anatomy and drugs. Being a physician is about staring into the abyss of uncertainty and knowing at your core when to have the confidence to act and when to find help. It is about compassion, awareness and direct action.'

Briese grew up in Long Beach, which he called a 'microcosm of the entire U.S.,' diverse economically and ethnically. One side of the city borders Compton, the other the ocean. He hopes to return there someday to give something back to his hometown. 'My high school had fences with barbed wire and police searches, but it was also a wonderful high school,' he said. 'With the experience I had there I was able to go on to Harvard and be the first person in my direct family line to finish college.' After exploring varied interests and traveling the world - 29 countries - he returned to his plan of becoming a doctor, formed in kindergarten just after the birth of his brother. 'Seeing my baby brother in the hospital shortly after he was born was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in all of my first five years.'


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