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IU School of Medicine radiation oncology resident to intern with ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser

Sept. 26, 2012

Norleena Gullett will spend part of her radiation oncology residency as an intern with the ABC News national health desk.

Norleena Gullett

Norleena Gullett

Gullett will complete a medical journalism elective in October developing health stories for Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, and other broadcasts including “World News With Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America” and “Yahoo.”

“Cancer patients often arrive in our clinic, overwhelmed by their diagnosis, having searched the Internet for information on the latest cancer treatment," Gullett said.

"My elective at ABC News will help me understand how medical data gets communicated to the public by the national media. I want to ensure that my patients receive the most up-to-date and accurate information about their treatment, not just the first hit on Google or what they heard on TV the night before.”

While at ABC, Gullett will assist the news staff in reviewing dozens of scientific studies, including the most recent scientific breakthroughs. She will work with national and international experts to analyze data and assess its scientific and clinical relevance. She'll also have access to the set and the opportunity to observe Besser's program and other newscasts from behind the camera.

Medicine is a second career for Gullett, who earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and French and started working in information technology after college during the tech boom of the 1990s. She spent the majority of her career in management consulting with Ernst &Young, working with both domestic and foreign clients to implement technology to improve efficiency and cut costs, with specialties in system integration and data management.

Gullet's desire to learn medicine was an extension of her work with large complex systems-- only this time, the system is the human body. At the age of 30, she enrolled in Johns Hopkins University's post-baccalaureate pre-medical program and was then admitted to Emory University School of Medicine. She hopes to complete her radiation oncology residency at IU next year.

The opportunity to work at ABC was a “right place, right time” situation. The Office of Public and Media Relations at IU School of Medicine has had a relationship for more than a dozen years with the ABC News national health desk, and during that time has connected many faculty specialists with a national network database of physicians. ABC relies on experts from that database to help steer health coverage in a practical direction that would benefit viewers. Earlier this year, ABC used its expert database with connections to medical schools to offer a news internship to residents; Gullett was one of a handful accepted.

ABC’s database of physician experts will be one of the tools at her disposal, so IU School of Medicine physicians shouldn’t be surprised if they receive an email from her asking their opinion on the latest medical research.

Gullett will be tweeting about her experiences at ABC at @NPGullettMD.

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