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Shelby Holt, M.D.

  • Professor, Surgery | Endocrine Surgery
  • Division Chief
“Grace and empathy will take you far in life.”

Contributions to STEMM

Dr. Holt is an endocrine surgeon who specializes in complex cases. “Specifically, I surgically remove thyroid and parathyroid glands that have benign and malignant growths associated with them or that cause abnormalities in their function,” she said. “I do not consider myself just a technician, as I am an integral part of patient care before and after the surgery, not just during.”

Early Influences

“I did not proactively do anything out of the ordinary to prepare for my surgical career other than be all in, all the time,” Dr. Holt says of her formative years. “I just knew without a doubt that I could and would do it. I had an internal drive that would not be deterred. I did not realize until about mid-career how much I had sacrificed along the way.” This realization helped her “recognize that I could not, in fact, do it all like I thought. My heart and soul are full with the rewards of taking care of patients and teaching others to do so, but finding self-worth beyond what I do as a physician is something I have to work on.” 

Overcoming Challenges

Dr. Holt’s biggest challenge stemmed from balancing her professional and personal lives.

“I was a single mom for the first 10 years of my career. I learned to not let my fierce self-reliance get in the way of much-needed help and support provided by family, friends, and colleagues.”

The UT Southwestern Difference

“I deeply value my connection to the entire UT Southwestern community. I personally know and feel supported not only by my colleagues and trainees, but by the technicians, maintenance staff, clinic personnel, administrative and nursing staff; everyone who is an integral part of the mission. It is deeply personal and rewarding to train in and dedicate your career to one institution. I am indebted to those I have known from the beginning and to those I have met along the way.”

Dr. Holt is proud to participate in the Celebrating Breakthroughs Together project. “It is fulfilling to realize how far we have come. I had someone tell me recently that ‘it is no big deal being a female surgeon anymore; the hardships and inequities are things that past generations faced,’” Dr. Holt recalls. “My response was, ‘You try it.’  I thank UT Southwestern leadership for making this project possible.”

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