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Trendsetter to Know: Dr. Alyx Porter Umphrey

Photo: Deanna S Reid, The SocialPhotog

Name: Dr. Alyx Porter Umphrey

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Age: 42

Title: Neuro-Oncologist

Married/Single: Married

Kids: (2) children

City you live in: Scottsdale

A typical day in my life includes…

waking up before my alarm and using that time to work on things related to ElevateMeD. Then I wake up the kids, help them get dressed and kiss them goodbye.   My workday starts earlier than my husband so he takes them to school.  When I get to work I do a number of things including providing treatment and comfort to patients with brain cancer.  Some days I am able to eat lunch, sometimes I may have an administrative or research meeting during the noon hour. I have the privilege of teaching residents and medical students and serve as the medical director for Mayo Clinic’s early undergraduate pipeline program and vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion.  Once my work day is complete, I pick up my kids and do all of the things that many working moms do including homework, managing practice schedules/snacks and lamenting over dinner.   Just as I started the day with ElevateMeD, I am usually ending the day working on ElevateMeD after everyone is in bed!

I was born…

Scottsdale, Arizona!

My favorite thing about Arizona…

I love the smell after monsoon storms. I also am obsessed with tacos and guacamole!

I’m listening to…

depends on the mood of the day! Today it’s Kidz Bop.

My family…

means the world to me! I hope that we are living out an example of faith, hard work, resiliency, and generosity.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

Michelle Obama! After reading her biography, I had the privilege of attending her Phoenix book tour stop in February. What I’m most impressed about with her is what she calls her “swerve” meaning the way she is able to bring her full self to the many situations she encounters and be magnificent while doing it.

I’d also love to dine with my late grandmother! I’m sure she would be thrilled with all of the things her family is doing.

One thing I cannot live without…

faith!

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

a doctor! First I thought I wanted to a pediatrician, then maybe a heart surgeon. After reading the “The Gifted Hands” I shifted to neurosurgeon. Once I began studying in medical school, and realized microscopes made me motion sick. I finally decided on becoming a Neurologist, and then later a Neuro Oncologist.

I’m inspired by…

my incredible patients! Every day, I am able to enter people’s lives at the times that they are the most afraid, sad and angry. The opportunity to walk this path with them and witness them go from sadness to strength and empowerment, inspires me on a daily basis. You get to see the families come together, the patients get focused on what’s important to them, and it helps me not get too far ahead of myself and make sure that I am doing the best I can with what I have. 

The one person who motivates me is…

naysayers. I have always been one to be inspired to do more when my abilities are underestimated. 

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

the perception that things in life come easy. We are in the age of technology and often see the “ end result” and not the many years of hard work that made that successful moment possible.

The perfect day would be…

a combination of brunch with my girlfriends, watching football with my family and ending with tucking my kids at night.

My first job was…

a high school tutor! I would tutor my fellow students in Math, French…whatever people would pay me to tutor them for!

My favorite escape…

the spa, specifically the Fairmont Princess! My favorite destination is Turks and Caicos!

My life…

has been filled with challenges AND support, failure AND success. My hope is that I continue to evolve in a way that continues to make my family proud.

I’m currently working on…

building ElevateMeD!

Always…

trust your instincts, surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and do what you say you are going to do.

Never…

underestimate the resolve of the human spirit.

Favorite Quote…

“Service is the rent we pay for being.”- Marian Wright Edelman

Biggest Dream…

seeing the work of ElevateMeD manifest. I believe a diverse physician workforce that reflects the American population will help lead to an end of health disparities in the United States.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

paper straws! I got a glass one for my birthday and I LOVE it!!!

More about Dr. Alyx Porter Umphrey…

Dr. Alyx Porter Umphrey is a neuro-oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Since her arrival in 2008, she has worked diligently to provide care for patients with tumors and cancers involving the nervous system in addition to patients who have neurologic complications resulting from their systemic cancers. An earnest, highly regarded physician leader who has been selected to serve on the boards of publicly traded companies and nonprofit organizations, she also is an Assistant Professor at the Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine & Science in Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. Porter Umphrey received her undergraduate education at Spelman College and went on to receive her medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine in 2003.  She completed her internship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester in Internal Medicine, residency in Neurology, and Fellowship in Neuro-Oncology in 2008.

Currently, Dr. Porter Umphrey is a founding member of Women in Neuro-Oncology, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology,  as well as the National Medical Association. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. Porter Umphrey also is coauthor of the bestselling resource for patients and families coping with brain tumors, Navigating Life With a Brain Tumor, published by Oxford Press in 2013.

Alongside her husband Dr Gregory Umphrey, Dr Porter Umphrey founded ElevateMeD, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to elevating medicine by providing scholarships, mentoring, and support to medical students from African-American/Black, Latinx, and Native American backgrounds.

Managed by a diverse Board of Directors, the organization was developed out of the need to elevate medicine to an ideal where the physician workforce racially and ethnically represents the community served.



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