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Jessica Wilson with dog

MD, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin


What brought you to radiation oncology?

The individualized planning and the patient relationships. I knew I wanted to work with cancer patients as an oncologist of some type—that had always been my passion. When I did my rotations in Radiation Oncology my M3 and M4 years, what stood out to me as really unique was that every patient really had their own unique plan made especially for them, and with weekly visits, the radiation oncologists were able to establish a close relationship with their patients. I am a very visual person so I really enjoy the contour and treatment planning part of our job, and I went into medicine to help people (as most of us did), so the combination of those two things made me convinced this is what I wanted to do.

What do you like about UNC RadOnc?

Two things—the people and the location. I did a rotation here as an MS4 because my now husband was doing his PhD at University of Georgia, and I felt of the programs near there, this was the best fit for me. I ended up loving the program because of the people—the faculty love teaching and the residents were so inclusive of me as a student. As a resident, I still think that the people here are our greatest strength, but it is not only the faculty and residents but the dosimetrists, therapists, physicists, and everyone on our team who make the place great. Everyone is willing to teach and works hard putting patient care first. I also love living in the Triangle—we live in Durham but honestly I think the whole area is beautiful. The forests and hiking trails are awesome, there are so many sporting events (when that becomes something we can do again), and there are some really good restaurants.

What has surprised you about your UNC RadOnc residency?

For me, what has been a pleasant surprise has been the new faculty. Since I was a student here, the department has hired 7 new faculty and one of them is now our program director. All of the new faculty are absolutely awesome to work with, and our new program director has been a huge advocate for the residents. She and our chief residents have revamped our morning conference so that we have monthly site themes, which I think has helped me learn a lot better than all the topics being random. In addition, I think it’s going to be really nice to not have cross coverage anymore, as this will help our research productivity on research days.