“It Seemed the Medical School Valued Different People.”
George Bayliss MD’03 RES’06
Favorite Thing About Rhode Island: Experiencing four seasons
Favorite Rhode Island Food: Allie’s Donuts in North Kingstown
Despite knowing he wanted to be a doctor while in college, George Bayliss MD’03 RES’06 didn’t think he could make it work on a logistical level. “College was competitive enough,” he says. “Then I watched friends who went through medical school, working long hours in the middle of the night, and it sounded like they were in a completely different world.” Instead, he earned a master’s in international and public affairs at Columbia. He conducted a research project on alcoholism in the then-Soviet Union, and whether an anti-alcohol campaign published in state-run newspapers could “actually convince people to drink less,” he says. That deep dive led him to becoming a Europe-based journalist, working for the wire service AP Dow Jones.But the idea of earning his MD never went away, even well into his 30s. “I called a few medical schools to see if this was completely out of character,” he says.
Some were noncommittal or said they’d never admitted a student at that age and told him, “You figure it out.” At Brown, though, he took a tour of the anatomy lab, led by a first-year medical student in his mid-30s. “It seemed the Medical School valued different people, including those of different ages,” he says. “That’s why I came.” He matriculated at the age of 40.
Bayliss was born in Michigan and grew up in New York City, but is now Rhode Island through and through. He stayed at Brown for his internal medicine residency, and came back after a nephrology fellowship at Harvard. He says of his specialty, “It’s a way to interact with everybody in the hospital since kidney health is part of every service, whether it’s medicine or surgery or something else.” Plus he’s always working directly with patients, he says: “I like that I still use a stethoscope.”
Rhode Island “has a big need for doctors,” the associate professor of medicine adds. “It felt like since I trained here, I owed something to the people of Rhode Island by coming back and practicing. I’m glad I did. It’s a good place to live.”