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Deborah Diercks, M.D.

  • Professor & Chair, Emergency Medicine
  • Audre and Bernard Rapoport Distinguished Chair in Clinical Care and Research
  • Past President, Society of Academic Emergency Medicine
“Don’t fear failure. It teaches you how to succeed.”

Path to Medicine

Dr. Diercks took the traditional path into a career in medicine by studying immunology in college and proceeding straight to medical school. However, she encourages young girls “to be innovative in the path to this career. Get the foundation in science that you need but enhance your learning with courses and experiences that you are passionate about. Expertise outside of traditional science increases diversity and will benefit your career in many ways.”

Early Influences

While Dr. Diercks did not grow up with any family members in the medical field, she was still driven to a career in medicine from a young age. “My interest in medicine was introduced early on as I went to doctors’ appointments with my sister,” she said. “My parents supported my interest and although they are not physicians, they encouraged me to pursue my goals.”

Contributions to STEMM

Today, Dr. Diercks is an expert in academic Emergency Medicine. As Chair of the Department, “I lead the group of physicians and advanced practice providers that work in the Emergency Department at Clements University Hospital and Parkland Hospital,” she said. Dr. Diercks also said she conducts research “in the management of patients who present with chest pain to the Emergency Department.”

Taking Risks

“Every one of my career advances happened because I took a risk and was willing to fail.”

“Being elected to leadership positions, seeking leadership positions within a clinical department, and obtaining grant funding all require you to be willing to fail. Being resilient and realizing that we can learn from every failure is important. I heard a great quote recently: the word ‘fail’ really means ‘First Attempt in Learning'.” 

Advocacy for Women

Dr. Diercks earned the Advancement of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine Award in 2014. She continues to advocate for women in medicine by focusing her research on how gender influences the characteristics of symptoms. She sees her recognition in the Celebrating Breakthroughs Together project as “an honor to be included in this amazing group of women. The opportunity to highlight the successes of this terrific group is incredible.”

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