Each year the BIC invites one of our outstanding alumni to return for Homecoming and share a lecture with our students, faculty, and alumni. This year we are thrilled to welcome back Dr. James Saucedo (’03), an orthopedic surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital and a member of the BIC Alumni Advisory Board, as our distinguished guest. We recently interviewed Dr. Saucedo to learn more about his journey since graduating from Baylor. We hope you enjoy the interview, and we hope you will join us for the BIC Homecoming Lecture on Friday, October 15 at 2:30 pm in Marrs McLean Science, room 101. Dr. Saucedo will speak on the topic “Living the Examined Life at Baylor and Beyond.” Learn more.
What year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?
I graduated in 2003 with a BA degree and a major in University Scholars with BIC and Pre-med.
Tell us some about your career and journey since graduating from Baylor.
After Baylor, I attended Baylor College of Medicine; somewhere along the way, I forgot why I wanted to be a doctor and really struggled to stay motivated. Some classmates/friends of mine had enrolled at Rice as part of the MD/MBA track and encouraged me to check it out. After watching Motorcycle Diaries (I can explain the inspiration another time), I decided to apply. It was one of the best decisions I ever made! I found a new perspective, made new friends and was re-energized for a career in medicine. I went on to train as an Orthopedic Surgeon at Northwestern in Chicago and then did a fellowship in Hand, Wrist and Microvascular Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. I practiced in San Antonio before moving back to the Houston area where I practice now with Houston Methodist.
How has your BIC education influenced your life and/or work since leaving Baylor?
I think I see the world differently, with more compassion and understanding. The BIC taught me to try to see through other peoples’ eyes before making conclusions and not to judge too quickly. Even if I am caught up in the passion of a moment, I feel that BIC taught me to take that proverbial breath, step back and reassess. In terms of work, I feel that I am much better able to connect with patients, to read between the lines when a patient is carrying more than they may at first communicate. Whether it is connecting concretely on a shared love for The Brothers Karamazov or a general interest in their story, the BIC taught me to love and appreciate others.
Do you have any favorite memories from your time in BIC?
Too many to list! Some of my best friends to this day were BIC classmates. A few specific moments that come to mind: “samsara” (Dr. Bennett’s grand presentation); the poverty simulation; Dr. Tatum’s introduction to our section on Islam and Arab culture; the big group-small group setup; the study groups; etc. I can still remember a lot of my classmates and cherish those conversations and small group discussions, too.
Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?
This is a hard one because there are many moments and quotes that pop up with this question, so I’ll share the first one I remember as a freshman. “Truth, if it is truth, has no fear of being found false.” This gave me the freedom to ask questions. It helped me not to feel guilty as I explored and examined my faith. It also gave me a deeper respect for Truth and the pursuit of it.
Do you have any advice for current BIC students?
Enjoy it. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up or of what others will think. Be honest, authentic and open-minded. Join a study group. This isn’t fight club – it’s okay to talk about these things outside of class. Some of our best insights were discovered outside the classroom.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
In a way, the BIC spoiled me. I don’t know if people still discuss the Baylor Bubble as a phenomenon to recognize and resist (not sure if that’s the right word), but looking back, I think we were also in a BIC Bubble where ideas could be shared openly, even fearlessly, and we accepted one another as worthy and beautiful, even if we disagreed. While we did not come out having the same ideas and agreeing all the time, we could generally find common ground and respect each other’s differences. Unfortunately, I don’t know that everyone has had access to that environment growing up or even in their educational journeys. Meeting folks that may not be as open-minded has been a little bit eye-opening for me and at times, admittedly disappointing and frustrating. But it has also helped me to identify my own biases, which as painful as that can be, is good. It has been challenging, but what has helped me is to step back and remember that we all have our stories and that while it’s nice to have that open-mindedness and respect reciprocated, it doesn’t have to be. Reciprocity is not a prerequisite for kindness.