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Monday, May 05, 2008

Patent Lawyer, Surgeon, Cheerleader 

Posted by James at 8:00 AM ET

I've made a list of Attorneys/Cheerleaders and a list of Doctors/Cheerleaders, but as far as I know there's only one Attorney/Doctor/Cheerleader.

Regina BaileyLater this month former Washington Redskins Cheerleader Regina Bailey will graduate from George Washington University Medical School and earn her MD. Regina already graduated from Georgetown University Law School back in 2001. So how did she go from Cheerleader to Attorney to Doctor?

Growing up in Englewood, NJ, Regina never had any formal dance training. She was a cheerleader in high school, and was even the captain. But sports and cheerleading weren’t a big thing at her school. The school was private and if a student wanted to play a sport they automatically made the team; there were no tryouts.

She skipped her senior year of high school and attended Hampton University in Hampton, VA, where majored in molecular biology with a minor in chemistry.

Regina had always wanted to be a doctor. After college she did research for a few years at the NIH. She found the genes that cause some rare skin disorders and even had a few papers published on the discovery. During that time she became interested in patent law and health policy and decided to switch gears and began law school at Georgetown in 1998.

In 1999 Regina saw an ad for Redskins Cheerleaders Auditions in The Washington Post, and decided on a whim to tryout. As a child she had always watched the cheerleaders on TV and had dreamed of being a professional cheerleader.

She made the squad and cheered for that one season. Regina says it was difficult to manage law school full time, working 2 jobs and cheering.

While being so close to the games and performing for the amazing fans was an awesome experience, Regina says her most memorable experience was running out of the tunnel for the very first time.

She's still a Redskins fan to this day, and participated in the alumni reunion and half-time show in 2006.

In 2001 Regina graduated from law school. She was admitted to the D.C. Court of Appeals and was primarily involved in patent litigation and represented generic drug companies right to put lower priced generic drugs on the market.

She also recently had the honor of becoming a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was sworn in in front of the full panel of Supreme Court Justices and met most of them after the ceremony as well.

While she was still in law school, Regina realized that it wasn’t for her, but decided to finish what she started and at least try to practice for a few years. When she actually started working she realized that her heart was really with medicine.

She endued up practicing law for 3 years before starting medical school in 2004.

Regina says it was a tough decision to give up the law for medicine. She sacrificed a a very successful career, and a six figure salary, but she's much happier now. And she still has plans to use her law degree. She says she'd eventually to get involved in health care administration and eventually would like to own her own hospital.

Regina Bailey

The summer after her first year of medical school she was accepted into a summer research program and she spent two months at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX with a cardiothoracic surgeon. In addition to working on a research project, she spend a considerable amount of time in the operating room, operating on patients with lung cancer and esophageal cancer. Regina fell in love with surgery and the ability to take someone into the operating room and potentially cure their problem. She knew that she had found her calling.

When Regina had to do her required surgery clerkship in the third year of medical school she found that she still had the same love for the profession and the operating room. She would still had a smile on her face even when she was up working for 36 hours straight.

Training for General Surgery involves a 5 year residency, which she will start in June. From day one Regina will be operating with supervision of senior surgeons. She will be exposed to all aspects of general surgery, as well as the surgical subspecialties. Her first year she will do primarily intern level cases such as appendectomies, hernia repairs and amputations. As the years progress she'll do more complex operations as her skill level improves.

She recently spent a month in Minnesota working with a transplant team and had the opportunity to participate in procurements as well as helping with putting the new organs in the patients. She's thinking of specializing in either Cardiothoracic surgery or Transplant surgery (liver and kidneys). Specialization will add on an additional 2+ years to the residency.

When asked to compare the difficulties of law school versus medical school, Regina says they are each tough in different ways, but medical school is a lot more time consuming.

And what did med students think about an NFL Cheerleader being one of their classmates?

Regina says most of her classmates thought it was pretty cool. During orientation on the first day of medical school, the dean announced to the class that there was a Redskins Cheerleader in the class. So throughout medical school Regina was known as "The Cheerleader." The admissions department even used her cheerleading picture in the admissions catalog.

She even included her NFL Cheerleader status in her application for general surgery jobs — most of the interviewers brought it up and thought is was unique to their applicant pool and very cool. She interviewed at programs all across the country and some program directors even joked about trying having her tryout for the professional NFL teams in their areas.

Next month Dr. Bailey will start her surgery career at the University of Texas at Houston, surrounded by Texans and Cowboys fans.

Regina describes herself as "unfortunately single." Even though she doesn't see herself as being intimidating, she says she's been told that the whole cheerleader/lawyer/surgeon thing is a bit intimidating to guys.

We'd like to think any guy would be happy with a smart, beautiful and successful woman like Regina Bailey.

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