Her life growing up in Merrillville, Ind. had significant influence on Stephanie Litz. The influence was not the location necessarily, but the circumstances. Stephanie’s life was punctuated with almost annual surgeries to repair an orofacial cleft. “I had more than 20 surgeries related to cleft,” Dr. Litz said. “once a year growing up. It had a huge impact on me emotionally and physically.” One way it affected Litz is in her attitude toward life in general. “I am a direct person,” Dr. Litz said. “I always try to treat people with respect and approach problems head on. I believe it is important to address problems, make changes, and move forward.”

The second major effect was in Dr. Litz’s career choice. “I was always going to go into medicine,” she said. “My plan was to be a plastic surgeon working with children with clefts and other facial issues.” She said she remembered as a kid hearing doctors and others say they knew how she felt and her thinking, “No, you don’t understand.” She wanted to be the doctor who did understand what her patients were thinking and feeling. Following her plan, she left for Indiana University in Bloomington as a pre-med student.

Read the full November 2020 Edition here.

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