My path to medicine was anything but linear. I grew up in the Everett area and attended the University of Utah after “retiring” from a 13-year career as an alpine ski racer. I had always planned on becoming a doctor, but developed an interest in journalism and public relations during high school and chose this as my eventual area of study in university. Upon graduating, I started a consultancy and worked with clients ranging from nonprofits and startups to Fortune 500s and government agencies. During this time, I also competed as a distance runner. I intended to eventually pursue medicine, but kept putting it off until 2011, when my mother was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. I was subsequently diagnosed as a rare disease patient myself, which presented an opportunity to learn firsthand what it is like to navigate the healthcare system under uncertain circumstances. This experience re-ignited my interest in studying medicine and I returned to school to complete my premed courses. I fell in love with pathology during my final semester and decided to work as a pathology tech for a year and a half while applying to medical school. It was during this time that I became familiar with both forensic pathology and neuropathology, and proceeded to explore these interests in medical school.
It is an honor to train in my home state of Washington, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch our medical school grow during the past four years. I hope to eventually serve as a medical examiner here in the Northwest.
I plan on pursuing subspecialty training in the field of pathology, with the goal of becoming a forensic neuropathologist. My primary role will be as a medical examiner, but I would like to remain involved in autopsy teaching and neuropathology research. Through my own experience as a patient and rare disease family member, I know how deeply unsettling it is to not have answers. Pathologists are granted the unique opportunity to look for answers at the deepest level – literally, microscopically!
I hope to help patients, families and care teams find valuable information when they need it most,” says Coxon.