As I’m waiting for the doctor to join our virtual meeting, I was pretty nervous that I would mess up and confuse her with what I had to ask. Linda Sagor comes in with such a warm and happy aura that the mood shifts in the room immediately. She had this contagious smile that made you want to smile with her.
A pediatrician is a specialized medical practitioner who works with kids and on childhood illnesses. As a pediatrician, Sagor has worked with many kids and families in need. At the time, in 1989, women were encouraged toward pediatrics. Her tied desire of helping kids and families with their medical issues, her interest in solving problems, plus investigating medical diagnoses, made the job perfect for her. Some of her interests outside of pediatrics are working with foster care agencies.
According to Sagor, crucial skills to working with children include genuinely caring for them, showing empathy, and being a reliable support system, especially for kids who have experienced trauma and difficulties within the foster care system. Her epiphany that pediatrics was the right path is when she witnessed the kids and their needs. “I saw all those adorable children. They were so cute. And I still just, you know, just look at kids being touched by them.” She knew that pediatrics was the best choice for her.
At the time, Sagor had finished college and was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she had gone to the School of Public Health of the University of Michigan. She knew she wanted to work with children, families, and medical issues. She couldn’t do that with a Master’s in Public Health so she decided to apply to medical school. She then had to take some pre-med courses since she hadn’t taken them in college and it had made the journey harder but it really tested her passion and she proved to herself that she was willing to go further. Sagor says, “I was going to medical school, and it is very, it’s, it’s, it’s very time-consuming. And one really has to commit to studying. To learn what you need to learn to be a good doctor. And that’s what I’ve said before, about having a passion for it is really important because if you don’t have a passion for it, it’s just too difficult.” She also says when she told friends & family she was going to medical school, people told her, “…it’s kind of crazy, you’re married, and you’re gonna do it. You’re gonna be 29 when you finish medical school.” That’s so influential because despite what it is you wanna do, you should do it because it’s what you want to do. It’s a passion. She also had reached points where she “just didn’t think I had what I needed to have to really continue to do this hard work.” but she kept going and it was all worth it in the end.
A lesson that she’s learned is that everyone needs a support system and that we all are humans who need help whenever they need it.“ To really be there for people, to validate their concerns, to really try to help them figure out ways to, to, to move past any barriers or struggles in their life, certainly how to be healthy.“ She sees this so much in her role as a doctor where people are concerned with the health of a loved one and want to find out what is wrong with them and how to fix it. Her role as a doctor allows for her to nurture said person back to health. She’s also human and knows what it’s like to be concerned and not be able to do anything. She also knows that everyone needs someone whenever they’re down and she’s “really honored and privileged to be able to give it.“
Sagor believes that everyone needs someone to care for them and validating all their emotions is what generates an open environment for people to care for others. What she also loves most is being able to help families in need and making their concerns verified.