At a time in everyone’s life, we come to find ourselves in a situation where the music stops, and we must go on.  The unfortunate truth about life is that the unexpected will happen. Some of us learn from it, some of us change because of it and some of us find our life’s calling because of it. The latter was the case for me.  After our dad picked us up from middle school, we spent that afternoon like we had every afternoon that month. We went to the oncology unit at the hospital, where my brother was admitted.



I remember him. I remember the man in the dark blue sarong the same way I remember the lines on back of my own hand. He was hunched over next to a column on a dirty platform at a railway station in Calcutta, India in the middle of the harsh summer sun. His hands were withered, his fingers and toes looked like tiny nubs, and he was completely malnourished and alone. He had opaque blue eyes, as if fog had taken place of his irises and pupils.



I studied insects in college; my favorite insects were the bees (I found them diligent and so helpful to humankind).  One of my favorite classes was about medical diseases caused by insects. My professors noticed my interest in the medical side of things and connected me with a professor who did clinical research. Our work focused on a clinical trial for children with intractable epilepsy and exposed me early on to patient care and patients.


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To gain the respect of colleagues, the Bensemas wanted to set an example by conducting themselves professionally, both in and out of the hospital. They did not become active in the LMS until their boys were in college and on their own. They said that family time was important and it was best to keep the distraction of being involved in the community to a minimum until their boys were out of the house. They said the key to their marriage and family was to “prioritize date night.”  As much as they love their career, the boys and family are important. They emphasized that date night was vital to their marriage.

With their long and fulfilling careers, the Bensemas feel the field of medicine is bright. They are optimistic about some changes in healthcare, such as team care for patients, where doctors are part of a team that consists of nurses, pharmacists, and social workers all working together for the best results for the patients. They are excited to see where “augmented intelligence” will take medicine. Dave is especially excited to know that the AMA has invested 12 million dollars to medical schools to get them to be all in with team care for patients.

Their advice for medical students and residents is to make sure that the area of specialty they chose should fulfill their passion, enjoy life, and do not let medicine and studying consume their life. They truly believe in the best medicine of all, laughter. They recommended to always go to bed and think of one positive thing that happened during the day. When bad things occur, learn from it and move on but don’t dwell on it and let it ruin the rest of the day. They believe in living life with a sense of humor and that everything will work out the way it should.   


She said, as a woman in a male dominated field, she lived her life to always be professional, worked hard, and was extremely comfortable living life her way and to handle any problems with a sense of humor.  Marian did her residency at UK and said she was always drawn to pathology. She loved the schedule and the freedom it gave her so she could be available for her sons who were 8 and 12 years old at the time.

David Bensema grew up in Oak Lawn, Illinois. He knew at the tender age of 3 years old he wanted to be a doctor. His biggest admirer was Dr Was, who delivered everyone in his family including his mother. It was unfortunate that Dr Was passed away when David was seven years old.  He never once waivered or ever thought of doing anything else in life but going into medicine. David went to UK medical school and did his residency in internal medicine. He met Marian at UK, got married, and he became an instant dad to her boys.

Both David and Marian always made sure to find time for each other. They said the secret to their marriage is “date night or date lunch,” where they take time out of their busy life to just focus on each other for that moment. The motto in their personal and professional life is if you talk the talk then you need to walk the walk.


Tuyen Tran, MD emigrated from South Vietnam after the war. He completed his undergraduate in biology/chemistry and medical school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in a six year program. His is currently boarded in internal medicine and addiction medicine.

There is an old saying “behind every successful man, is a strong woman to pick up the slack.” Dr. David Bensema is an internal medicine doctor who was Lexington Medical Society’s president in 2002, and he was Kentucky Medical Association’s President from September 2014-2015. He stays busy now with his involvement as an AMA (American Medical Association) Delegate. Dr. Marian Bensema is a pathologist and the first female to become President of the Medical Staff in 2011 at Baptist Hospital.  Both Drs. Bensema retired 2 ½ years ago, a few months apart, and on the day David Bensema retired, they jumped on a plane and flew to New Zealand to start their retirement.  Dr. Marian and David Bensema will be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in November. They have raised 2 wonderful young men and are the proud grandparents of 4 grandsons.

Dr Marian Bensema grew up in a small town in rural Kentucky. Her family was unique for that time because all the women in her family went to college. Marian always wanted to be in medicine; however, in high school she was talked out of going to medical school. So, she went on to become a medical technologist and worked in the field for several years before the calling and her dream to go to medical school propelled her to apply and get accepted into the University of Kentucky Medical School. Marian was a “nontraditional” medical student. She was more mature, a single mom and she had two young boys at home. She managed to find a balance between her medical studies and being a mom to her sons, Steven and Michael. Marian never viewed herself as anything but a person who has passion for medicine.