Holly  Lewis
House Staff

College/University: Harvard University

Medical School: Emory University

Clinical and Research Interests

My clinical and research interests include tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery. I completed my MD and PhD at Emory with a focus in immunology, cell therapy and chemical biology. After two years in the Duke general surgery residency, for my research time I joined a tissue engineering lab with Prof. Tatiana Segura of biomedical engineering. With partners in transplant and reconstructive surgery, we’re developing porous biomaterials with immune-modulating and wound-healing properties. In this work, I’ve had mentorship from faculty in hand surgery, breast surgery, transplant surgery and more. Following my lab time, I had the opportunity to join the Duke integrated residency in plastic, maxillofacial and oral surgery. The Duke Plastics program is a fantastic team of colleagues and mentors that I am proud to be a part of.

I am passionate about addressing disparities in healthcare, and the use of bioinformatics to study social determinants of health. I have a particular interest in LGBTQ healthcare, gender-affirming surgery, and access to this care. Duke mentors in this work include Dr. Kristen Rezak of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Carly Kelley (adult endocrine), Dr. Deanna Adkins (peds endocrine), Dr. Dane Whicker (psychiatry), in addition to several co-residents and healthcare professionals. We launched Gender Health and Wellness During Covid-19, an initiative to understand how the pandemic impacted surgical, medical, and behavioral healthcare for transgender and non-binary patients.

What were you looking for in a residency program?

When I was applying to residency, the key factor was finding an institution made of quality residents and faculty, who enjoy working together to effect positive changes in our patients and community. I wanted to be in an academic setting, but one that would also help me gain exposure to a breadth of surgical specialties. Of additional importance was living in a place that was affordable, diverse, and welcoming to work. I’m proud to say Duke has met all those expectations.

What advice do you have for incoming interns?

Enjoy your last bit of vacation before residency—travel, be with your family or loved ones. Take Step 3 if you can swing it—it’s a nice box to check off and clear your to-do list before life as a surgeon begins. Talk on the phone with your loved ones during commuting hours. Communicate often with your co-residents—load the boat early and never worry alone. Teamwork is one of the most important values to cultivate as a surgical resident.

What do you like best about living in Durham and the Triangle?

Since moving from Atlanta, I’ve found Durham to be another southern city with diverse nightlife, people, and ways of life. It’s a fairly liberal place with music, art, and a great restaurant scene. We also have easy access to explore the natural world, especially Durham’s city parks around the Eno River. The Outer Banks are about two hours away, and we’re a short drive from local hiking & camping or the Appalachians. Raleigh has a number of excellent restaurants and the state capitol, where I’ve been able to take part in political organizing marches.

What do you like to do outside of Duke?

I enjoy trail-running and hiking in the forests and rivers around Durham, especially the Eno, which has several access points in the city. I’ve made great friends in the triangle through a pickup rec league, Durham Queer Sports, a group of LGBTQ folks from around the triangle; we play kickball or indoor soccer once a month. I love live music and performance art, and have discovered amazing shows and local artists at the Pinhook, the Fruit, and Fullsteam. I purchased a condo in my intern year, where I live comfortably with my cat Miles, 15 minutes from the hospital.

House Staff