Lara Primak '90, M.D.
Biochemistry | Mifflintown, Pa.
Five years ago, Lara Primak made one of the most difficult choices of her life when she decided to leave clinical medicine to pursue a career as a medical writer, which ultimately led to her current position at ETHOS Health Communications in Newtown, Pa. It was 2006 and Primak had been practicing medicine since 1994.
“I just felt like I took my work home with me too much,” says Primak, 44. “I began to feel like I was overthinking everything—spinning my wheels a lot of the time. Ultimately, I felt like this inability to trust myself could potentially have an adverse impact on the care I was delivering to my patients. That’s when I knew I had to move on.”
And move on she did. As a medical writer, Primak is responsible for developing copy for various medical communications, including journal articles, on behalf of pharmaceutical clients. What makes her work most rewarding is the opportunity to reach out to various audiences, considering what they might find most germane and understanding how to package that information into an article that resonates and has impact.
“When I contribute to the development of an article that informs and educates, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care, that’s exciting,” she says.
It’s been a unique journey for Primak, and she says the experience has taught her the value of trusting her instincts when it comes to personal happiness and professional fulfillment.
“I struggled with leaving clinical medicine. I had invested so much, was good at what I did, and I believed that what I was doing was too noble to walk away from,” says Primak. “But the bottom line was that I was unhappy and overwhelmed. I felt emotionally and spiritually spent. When you get to that point, you can’t be of much benefit to anyone, much less yourself.”
In many ways Primak attributes this realization to her years at Susquehanna, where she says she was never “pigeonholed as a chemistry major or someone who wanted to be a doctor.” Her undergraduate experience was varied, dimensional and holistic.
“I believe the range of my educational and other experiences at SU was instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today,” she says.
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