Max Goldman grew up telling his family he would never enter medicine, but his interest in science and love of working with people led him to that field.
As a child, Goldman recounted, he was part of his parents’ chavurah, which volunteered to cover shifts at a nursing home during Christmas.
He later spent a summer in college volunteering at St. Joseph’s Mercy Care, which provides services to indigent and uninsured patients. Mobile clinics visit homeless communities in Atlanta in what Goldman called street medicine.
“There was something about delivering care to those who needed it most but were not necessarily seeking it out that really clicked with me,” he said. “The experience had a very meaningful impact for me, and I think that is when I began thinking about the external detriments of health.”
The summer before his senior year at Emory, Goldman was deciding between business and medical school when he decided to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. He was ready to take a consulting job when he learned that he was one of 20 recipients nationwide.
Months later Goldman moved to Jorakhe, a rural village in Thailand. He taught English to about 700 secondary school students and worked in a hospital. For 14 months he taught English to nurses and doctors in exchange for making rounds with the medical staff.
“That was my first true exposure to medicine,” Goldman said. “My move to Thailand was one of the most challenging yet eye-opening experiences I have had and ended up being the best year of my life.”
His time in Thailand cemented Goldman’s move into medicine.
He was one of four students in his class at Emory School of Medicine to get a full scholarship through the Woodruff Fellowship for Medicine. He then was one of 12 third-year medical students at Emory elected to the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha.
In May he was one of 10 magna cum laude graduates in his class. He received several awards for his research in medical school, including the American Society of Hematology Abstract Achievement Award for his research on follicular lymphoma and the Williams Foundation Award for innovative oncology research.
He will do his residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
One thing Goldman took from his experience in Thailand is the ability to improvise. “I always thought that medicine was this one-size-fits-all area. You just learn about this disease and apply that treatment to everyone, but I think what Thailand showed me is that you really have to factor in all these various considerations. The people’s medical understanding, their own background and circumstances, and tailor the medicine to the individual.”
Goldman said graduation feels like the beginning of his career and training as a physician.
“I am ecstatic. I was not sure I wanted to do medicine growing up, and I think that was better for me personally,” he said. “I think taking all that extra time after college to explore different fields, only to come back to medicine, confirmed that this is really my calling and what I was meant to do.”