Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker loves being a plastic surgeon because she loves making a difference. “It’s so gratifying to see patients suddenly take renewed pride in their appearance. When I see the confidence, the empowerment, that new outlook on life, I’m reminded, ‘this is why I do what I do.’
”Not a choice, but a “calling.”
Growing up in North Carolina, Dr. Elizabeth wasn’t thinking about becoming one of the nation’s top facial plastic surgeons. However, her early fascination with science led her to contemplate being a doctor from an early age. She attended high school at the prestigious North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics for students gifted in those areas. She then majored in Biology at Davidson College where she selected Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Magna Cum Laude. While medical school had always been a goal, she thought hard about the long commitment and the grueling years of intense study.
“I tried to talk myself out of it,’ she explains with a smile, “but I realized that it was a calling rather than a choice. I wanted to help people in a very direct, personal way that utilized my talents. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
A world-class medical education
Dr. Elizabeth was accepted at the world renowned Duke University School of Medicine where she received her Doctorate of Medicine. It was here that she was drawn to a career in plastic surgery. “The head, neck, and facial anatomy is the most complex in the body,” says Dr. Elizabeth. “I find facial plastic surgery to be the ultimate fusion of artistry and technical skill. It’s just so gratifying to use your training and experience to make such a positive difference in people’s lives.”