The Metamorphosis of a Modern Renaissance Woman
By Shilo Urban
Photos by Amber Shumake
Doctor. Dean. Mother of three. Superwoman Danika Franks had it all: the prestigious title, a vibrant career and rewarding work as a mentor to young minds — and then she walked away. Facing an uncertain future, she stepped off her hard-earned path to search for an unknown destination. Along the way, she is finding her truth.
“I am making one of the most courageous jumps that I may well ever do in my life,” says Danika, the former Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Texas Christian University School of Medicine and emergency medical physician at Texas Health Resources. A modern Renaissance woman who is continually learning, her interests go far beyond medicine to encompass culture and community, design and the arts, writing and sports.
Danika’s leap of faith began many years ago as a smart and feisty little girl grew into a first-generation college student and set her sights on medical school. She was soon drawn to the diverse, dynamic nature of the emergency room. Emergency medical physicians encounter every type of patient imaginable, which requires broad-based knowledge and skills. “You know how to handle the first 15 minutes of every emergency,” explains Danika. Many see the ER doctor as a “jack of all trades but a master of none,” an idea that she has both bristled at and connected with. “I am a lot of things, and I like doing a lot of things. I don’t want to be pinned down.”
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