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Jessica Moreland, M.D.

  • Professor, Pediatrics | Microbiology
  • Division Chief
  • Pediatric Critical Care
  • Thomas Fariss Marsh
  • Jr. Chair in Pediatrics; Co-Chair of Promotion and Tenure Committee
“The most important qualities of a physician are humility and compassion.”

Contributions to STEMM

Dr. Moreland is a physician-scientist at UT Southwestern. In her clinical position, she “provides clinical care and teaching in the Pediatric Intensive Care and the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Units for critically ill children,” she said.

“After 22 years in the Intensive Care Unit, I still absolutely love to take care of critically ill children and their families and help them to return to their previous lives with the most minimal impact of the illness as possible.”

She holds administrative roles as “the Division Chief of Critical Care in the Department of Pediatrics where I oversee 28 faculty and 13 fellows. I am also a co-chair of the UT Southwestern Promotion and Tenure Committee,” she said. “In my administrative roles I love helping faculty in my division figure out how to grow and create the careers that they want. Mentorship of junior faculty is extremely rewarding.”

As a researcher, “I run a laboratory-based research program focused on understanding the cell biology of neutrophil-based inflammation,” Dr. Moreland said. “I still get extremely excited about gathering new data in the laboratory.”

Overcoming Challenges

As a working mother, Dr. Moreland faced difficulty balancing her career ambitions with the responsibility of raising a family. “When I informed one of my early scientific mentors that I was pregnant with my third child, he told me that I wouldn't be taken seriously as a scientist if I kept having babies. This only further stimulated my commitment to be a physician-scientist and a mother,” she recalled.

“I also came to recognize that every mentor cannot provide support for all facets of your career and life, that's why over time we develop "teams" of people who mentor us and support our growth and development. It is naïve to imagine that a middle-aged man could understand what motivated me to develop the career that I have.”

Advice to the Next Generation

“If you want to pursue a career in STEMM, seek out a number of role models who have the kind of life that you see for yourself in 10 to 15 years,” Dr. Moreland advised. “Talk to as many women as you can who have similar priorities. If having children is important to you, ask women who have done this what made it work well for them.”

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