Dr. Laura Goodman, CHOC’s newest pediatric general and thoracic surgeon, has always strived to meet the greatest need with her career.
It all began with her service in Mongolia as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Having graduated with an anthropology degree, Dr. Goodman taught English to the communities there, but she soon discovered that they had a greater need: access to medical care.
Determined to meet that need herself, Dr. Goodman returned to the U.S. after one year to pursue medical school. She spent the next two and a half years taking the necessary classes, researching and volunteering, and chose to attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine — which has a global health emphasis.
Following medical school, Dr. Goodman completed her residency at the University of California, Davis, working in a high-volume trauma center. It was there that Dr. Goodman was drawn to work in pediatric surgery — helping children when they are young and being able to impact their entire lives.
“I want to be there for kids in their greatest time of need,” she says. “Being sick or injured is scary for kids, and it’s so satisfying to be able to physically fix the problem with surgery, and then be able to show pictures and explain to families what I did.”
Dr. Goodman emphasizes that there’s a lot to learn about childhood diseases that originate in embryology and development. She has pursued research efforts in childhood diseases in both local and global populations — first, by returning to Mongolia with a Fulbright Fellowship, and second, by pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Harvard University. After completing her general surgery training, she went on to complete her pediatric surgery fellowship at Loma Linda University.
Now at CHOC, Dr. Goodman feels like her career has come full circle. She’s looking forward to staying put to meet the needs of the local communities here in Orange County. With trauma the leading cause of death and injury in people under 44 years of age, Dr. Goodman is thrilled to be able to serve even more children at CHOC’s newly-designated Level 1 trauma center.
She is eager to bring her public health background and experience with underserved populations to pursue research in pediatric trauma, discovering new ways that her team can better prevent and treat injuries in children. “The CHOC team is already doing incredible work to optimize and provide the best possible care to injured children,” says Dr. Goodman. “I’m excited to be part of the team to strengthen the trauma program and build research.”
In her free time, Dr. Goodman enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, hiking and reading books from local libraries.
For more about CHOC’s trauma services