“I love to be able to solve the puzzle. It’s very satisfying having the expertise to really understand and help patients with some diseases or symptoms that are just not commonly understood.” –Lilah Morris-Wiseman
For Lilah Morris-Wiseman, endocrine surgery offers the perfect mix of what she likens to “answering brain teasers” to precisely diagnose patients and using her hands to fix their problems.
Appointed chief of the Division of Endocrine Surgery in September 2021, Morris-Wiseman specializes in evaluating and treating thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal gland and other disorders and cancers, autoimmune thyroiditis and hereditary endocrine genetic diseases. Often, she says, these conditions carry nonspecific symptoms, for which patients can be dismissed or told they’re associated with growing older. It’s not uncommon for a patient to tell her, “No doctor can figure this out.”
“I love to be able to solve the puzzle,” she says. “It’s very satisfying having the expertise to really understand and help patients with some diseases or symptoms that are just not commonly understood.”
At Johns Hopkins, Morris-Wiseman says she looks forward to working with multidisciplinary groups to provide comprehensive patient care and build programs. She’ll collaborate with endocrinologist Amir Hamrahian, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Adrenal Center, and she aims to expand the multidisciplinary thyroid cancer center. Her clinical and research interests surround optimizing care for patients with inherited endocrine diseases and standardizing best practices in the treatment of thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal surgical diseases.
Morris-Wiseman has a passion for advancing diversity, inclusion and equity in surgical education, and was a lead author of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Toolbox. She is serving as assistant program director for the surgery residency program at Johns Hopkins.
“I love working with trainees, and I think diversity really adds to our ability to care effectively for all types of patients,” she says.
Morris-Wiseman comes to Johns Hopkins from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where she was associate professor of endocrine surgery. She says she came to medicine in a roundabout way.
After earning her undergraduate degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, Morris-Wiseman thought she would pursue a doctorate and teach, but she wound up working for the consulting firm The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., doing research for their health care division. During that time, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The dual experiences led to an epiphany about what she wanted to do with her life. She promptly returned to school for a postbaccalaureate science certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles, and then applied to medical school.
Morris-Wiseman received her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She completed a general surgery residency and research fellowship in surgical oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a clinical fellowship in surgical endocrinology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.