Science/Health: Mary A. Badon ’05, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology & Studio Art Major

Doctor, orthopedics, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester

Mary Badon knows how to focus.

She was eyeing the pre-med track even before enrolling at Clark, where she went on to excel in biochemistry and molecular biology. Not one to view her education through a narrow lens, she managed to add a second major in studio art, specifically photography.

Today the 28-year-old from Connecticut is a surgeon in residence in orthopedics at the renowned UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. While studying at the Yale University School of Medicine, some of Badon’s photos about homelessness were featured in an exhibit there.

As a Clark undergraduate, Badon received a coveted Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and an Anton Fellowship from Clark. She graduated summa cum laude in 2005, with highest honors in both majors.

At Yale, Badon didn’t stop at an M.D. She added an M.B.A. and focused her joint business and medicine degrees on public policy. She studied allocation of medical resources and how different interests in medicine lobby for their causes in the political arena. Last summer, she and a Yale Medical Group surgeon presented a study on a musculoskeletal ultrasound technique that could translate into more than $650 million in Medicare savings.

“Working in hospitals, you notice that things don’t always run the way you anticipate,” Badon said. “So I’ve learned about processes from a business perspective — efficiencies, financial incentives that influence medical care. I don’t think business concerns and finance in health care are necessarily negative influences, as long as they’re aligned with patients’ interests.”

Badon said she enjoys the hands-on nature of orthopedics. “I like being in the operating room. I like the procedures and the fact that, for the most part, orthopedics cases have positive outcomes.”

Orthopedics is becoming “more molecular,” Badon added, noting that her Clark studies with the likes of adviser Denis Larochelle provided a “strong foundation in molecular biology, so I can understand the new growth factors that are becoming more important area in orthopedics.”

What are Badon’s goals for the future? “I’m still figuring that out,” she laughed. “Being in residency right now is all-consuming.”

The daughter of a pathologist father and physical therapist mother, Badon has kept her medical career in focus while keeping both science and art in the picture.