Julia Brinley, DO
Physician Spotlight Interview Questions
November 2023: Dr. Julia Brinley
1. Who or what inspired you to become a physician?
Good question! There was not one “aha” moment per say. From a young age, I knew I liked science, particularly biology. I also knew I liked helping and interacting with people. I thought medicine could be a good career path as it combined two things I really enjoyed. I took the steps and jumped the hurdles of tests, interviews and told myself if I was successful, I would continue the path towards becoming a physician. Along the way I met a lot of great primary care doctors and subspecialists. I also had a lot of great mentors, particularly in college, who pushed me to follow my instincts and passion. I got into the med school I wanted, my top residency and now my dream job. Overall, the inspiration was a combination of small events, passions and hard work that led me to where I am today. I went into medical school wanting to be a Cardiologist, but I found Neurology fascinating and enjoyed studying it which led me to become a Neurologist.
2. Briefly describe a "peak experience" from your career: interaction with a mentor, memorable patient, etc.
My peak experience in Neurology has been the relationships and interactions with patients and colleagues. Neurology is a hard specialty and often it is where patients end up when there are no answers. I had one young patient who had difficulty playing and picking up his children and having difficulty with smaller tasks throughout the day. I had another patient who had described years of imbalance, falls and had been passed through several different physicians and physical therapists. Both patients came to me frustrated, worried and anxious without any answers for years. I gave the diagnosis of Myasthenia Graves and Multiple Sclerosis respectively. Neither of these diseases are curable but to give their symptoms a name was therapeutic in and of itself for these patients. To be there with them through the diagnostic journey and treatment has been some of the most memorable in my outpatient practice.
Lastly, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Adams and this has been a highlight of my career. He was both a friend and a mentor to me throughout my years at CSNA. I was able to learn from him regarding the science and practice of neurology but also on how to be a compassionate physician.
3. What led you to become involved in El Paso County Medical Society?
I think coming into town and having a way to associate and connect with fellow physicians is important. I moved here from the southeast and I had never really been or worked in Colorado. El Paso County Medical Society helped with resources to connect to other doctors and programs that are very important when you are first starting out. Then, staying integrated within the medical community is vital as your practice grows.
4. What advice would you give to physicians-in-training who are just starting their careers?
Stick with it. Medicine can be hard especially in medical school and residency. Make sure you find something that you love, and you are passionate about. You will be working hard for a long time, and you may as well be excited to learn and grow as medicine does. Neurology has been a rapidly changing field with pathology, diseases, and treatment options. It has been fun to be able to learn and most importantly offer patients new therapeutics. It will be worth it in the end and lead to a fulfilling career fueled by your passion.
Lastly, find a mentor that is passionate about teaching and guiding in both the science and business of medicine.
5. What do you enjoy doing outside of medicine?
My husband and I moved to Colorado for the great outdoors! We love to hike, ski and explore the mountain towns in the area. We are teaching our five-year-old to ski and have gotten him to the point where he gets down a green. I will be attempting a bunny hill with my 2-year-old soon, although may be short lived. Otherwise, we are in the season of life where our time revolves around our kids. I do enjoy exercising, and I used to be a competitive runner so this is certainly an important stress release in my life. Otherwise, painting and knitting are also crafts I enjoy in the little free time I have.