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Dr. Jess (Dhaliwal) Prischmann achieves the 2011 Anderson Prize for top score on ABFPRS examination

At the opening night reception during the Rhinoplasty meeting in Chicago last May, Dr. Stephen W. Perkins was sharing his insights regarding his current fellow, Dr. Jess (Dhaliwal) Prischmann. “Jess Prischmann is a surgeon to watch,” Perkins said to a group of nearby friends and colleagues. “She’s talented on so many levels. Jess is a gifted surgeon, an insightful communicator, and my patients absolutely adore her. And, she is scary smart—so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if she won this year’s Anderson Award,” he confided.

Dr. Perkins’ prediction was right on the mark. Dr. Prischmann will be awarded the prestigious Jack R. Anderson Prize for Scholastic Excellence at the AAFPRS Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California, this September.

“Growing up as a first generation Indian-American, I was taught at a very young age that medicine was the most noble profession,” relates Prischmann. “When I was little, I told everyone who would listen that I was going to be a doctor,” she states. “My mother worked grueling 15-hour days as a small business owner to help me realize that dream—working that hard meant she didn’t have a lot of time to spend with her children, so my sister and I were raised by my grandmother—a woman who didn’t speak English and was never taught how to read or write,” says Prischmann. “She was the kindest and most emotionally intelligent person I have ever met. My sister and I spent most of our time learning life lessons from our grandmother.”

Prischmann learned her lessons well. She graduated from high school at the age of 15 and went on to attend Boston University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism at the age of 19. She had articles published in a number of newspapers, including The New York Times and Newsday and she covered Congress as a reporter during the 2000 presidential election. Her career in journalism was off to a great start, but she still harbored the burning ambition to join “the noble profession” and applied and was accepted to medical school at Louisiana State University in her hometown of Shreveport. Dr. Prischmann was all of 19 years old when she started medical school.

Not one to let either career opportunity extinguish, Prischmann worked weekends during medical school as a part-time television reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Shreveport. Even with her frenetic schedule as a busy reporter and a full-time medical student, Prischmann graduated from LSU Medical School in the top of her class.

From Shreveport, Dr. Prischmann moved to Rochester, Minnesota, to complete her general surgery internship and residency in otolaryngology at the Mayo Clinic. “I will spend my career repaying a debt of gratitude to the surgeons who participated in my training at the Mayo Clinic,” responds Prischmann. “At Mayo, I had the opportunity to train under several talented facial plastic surgeons—Drs. Kerry Olsen, Richard Hayden, Stephen Bansberg, Eric Moore, and Oren Friedman. They all supported my decision to become a facial plastic surgeon and helped me work toward that goal. Dr. Bansberg even introduced me to Ronald Caniglia, M.D., one of Dr. Perkins’ former fellows. After I did a ‘mini-rotation with Dr. Caniglia, I knew I had to become Dr. Perkins’ fellow,” she says with conviction.

“During my fellowship year, Dr. Perkins not only helped me with the technical skills required to become a facial plastic surgeon, he also guided me through every aspect of setting up my own practice, from projections to floor plans. He is incredibly invested in seeing his fellows succeed,” Prischmann relates, “even after they complete the fellowship.”

After her 12-months additional training in Indianapolis with Dr. Perkins, Dr. Prischmann moved to Minneapolis to start her new private practice. When asked what her career aspirations might include, Dr. Prischmann says, “I would like to have a thriving private practice focused on cosmetic surgery—similar to the the McCollough-Perkins model of private practice cosmetic surgery. And, I’d like to become involved in the AAFPRS and the ABFPRS—perhaps even have my own fellowship someday,” she states. “I feel a responsibility to pay it forward.”

Dr. Prischmann also acknowledges the importance of family members in her success. “The day before the facial plastic surgery boards, I rented a car and drove from Washington, DC, to Baltimore to visit my grandmother’s nursing home,” she says. “Before leaving, I asked for her blessing on my test. I truly believe that her blessing is the reason I got the highest score on the exam,” she concludes.

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