“I know it sounds corny, but after we watched that video, I looked at my friend and said ‘I am going to be a vascular surgeon.’”
Melina Kibbe, then a first-year medical student at the University of Chicago, had just watched a video showing one of the most common operations performed by vascular surgeon—the carotid endarterectomy. The procedure requires tremendous technical precision. It has to be performed perfectly. Kibbe had long known that she wanted to be a surgeon, but this moment set her on her career path as a vascular surgeon and physician scientist.
Since then, she has authored more than 230 peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles and book chapters, and serves as editor-in-chief of JAMA Surgery. She also was honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2016. In 2016, Kibbe’s path brought her to Carolina, where she serves as the chair of the UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery—the first woman to ever hold the post.
This is story number 177 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.