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Dr. Chad Lemaire Graduates No. 1 In Med School

Dr. Chad Lemaire

Dr. Chad Lemaire, physician/psychiatry

Growing up on an alligator farm, Chad M. Lemaire did not imagine that he would attend medical school, let alone graduate at the top of his class. No one in his extended family had even attended college.

However in 2006, the former Collin College student graduated No. 1 in his class at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and became the outstanding student in a class of 175 at one of the country’s top medical schools.

Now 32, Lemaire is finishing the third year of a four-year psychiatry residency, and he was recently selected as one of a group of 15 psychiatric residents from across the country to participate in a two-year fellowship with the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, a prominent think tank that meets twice each year in White Plains, N.Y.

Lemaire credits a number of extraordinary teachers for his success, starting with his high school chemistry teacher and continuing through Lemaire’s 2000-2001 study at Collin College, where he took medical school prerequisite courses.

Lemaire said the quality of the instruction at Collin College was impressive. He recalled that not only were Dr. Fred Jury and Dr. Amina El-Ashmawy great chemistry professors, but the courses prepared him well for a strong showing on the medical school entrance exam.

Dr. El-Ashmawy was not surprised that Lemaire ranked first in his medical school class. She said she was impressed by his level-headedness, work ethic, intellect and caring nature.

Lemaire is a “warm, bright, mature, motivated young man,” she wrote in a medical school recommendation letter. “He had his own standards by which he measured himself,” she wrote, citing his “tremendous intellectual ability in terms of problem solving and creative thinking, both in lecture and in lab.”

At the time he attended Collin College, Lemaire was working full time as a pediatric oncology nurse at Medical City Dallas Hospital. The young patients there were at the heart of his decision to enter medical school. He initially planned to become a pediatric oncologist.

“I really felt inspired on a deep personal level by working with the children, especially the children with cancer,” he said. “I give them credit for moving me in such a profound way to want to do something great for people with my own life,” Lemaire said.

Initially, the idea of attending medical school was intimidating, Lemaire said, although he became convinced that it was the right way for him to make the best use of his talents and ability to work well with people.

"Not only were Dr. Fred Jury and Dr. Amina El-Ashmawy
great chemistry professors, but the courses
prepared Lemaire well for a strong showing
on the medical school entrance exam.
"

It was not until the midpoint of medical school that Lemaire decided to pursue psychiatry. “I wanted to spend a lot of time with my patients, learn about their lives, hear them tell their stories and help them in more ways than prescribing medicine,” he said. “That is what I loved about being a nurse, the psychosocial part, rather than the medical and technical aspects.”

Lemaire is set to finish his psychiatry residency at The Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, with graduation in June 2010. However, he has not made a firm decision on whether to pursue academics or private practice.

“I have always been curious and like to learn. Becoming a doctor, I have set myself up for a lifetime of learning,” he said.

Congratulations, Dr. Lemaire!