THOMASVILLE — Brookwood School alumna Melissa Lyle ‘05 knew from age 6 that she wanted to be a doctor. Years later, she has completed her fellowship in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.
“I was diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age,” said Lyle. “I quickly grew accustomed to visiting physician offices every six months for brace fittings and eventually underwent surgery at 16. My experience as a patient inspired me to pursue a career in medicine.”
Lyle, originally from Cairo, Ga., attended Brookwood for 13 years, starting in kindergarten. She attended college at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., followed by medical school at Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Ga.
After graduating from medical school in 2013, she moved to Rochester, Minn., to complete her internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at Mayo Clinic. While in Minnesota, she met her husband, who was finishing his Neurology Residency at Mayo Clinic. In 2019, they headed back down south to Georgia in order for her to complete her medical training at Emory.
She is currently board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, and will start on staff as a heart failure cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville this summer.
Working in the medical field during the COVID-19 global pandemic has presented many unique challenges.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly affected all of our lives, and hundreds of health care workers have lost their lives battling the coronavirus,” Lyle said. “While working in the hospital the past few months, one of the most jarring changes was the change made to the visitation policy. In an effort to contain and control the spread, hospitals have restricted visitor access. Although this was the right move from a safety perspective, it has been heartbreaking to see patients suffering alone and to communicate only via telephone or FaceTime with family members who long to be with their loved ones.”
While COVID-19 has drastically changed some hospital protocols, it has brought about positive perspective as well.
“The pandemic has highlighted the teamwork that makes the hospital and health care system possible," Lyle said. "It is uplifting to see everyone from physicians and nurses to x-ray technicians and hospital housekeepers working together to provide the best care and environment for patients during a stressful time.”
Lyle believes that her Brookwood education helped prepare her for medical school and her career as a cardiologist.
“While at Brookwood, I developed appropriate study habits and a strong work ethic that helped me through college and medical school," she said. "The small class sizes allowed for an individualized approach to learning, and my teachers were able to provide guidance and encourage me to meet my full potential. I am very grateful for my time at Brookwood.”
Lyle is one of many in the Brookwood alumni community who works on the frontline. The school took the opportunity earlier this summer to feature some of their alumni “Healthcare Heroes” on social media, which showed several in their protective gear, highlighting each person’s job and where they work.
Throughout her training, one particular quote has motivated and inspired her.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson asked the meaning of success and cited ‘to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.’ I hope to achieve this success through my career in cardiology," Lyle said.