#WomanOfInterest – Beth Comeau, MD
February 1st, 2019 by Elizabeth Radabaugh
When you take your family to the doctor, you want your doctor to be focused, warm, and passionate. Well, Beth Comeau checks all of these boxes, but where did she get these traits from? If you ask her, it comes from her dance background! Here is how she went from classical ballet dancer to esteemed doctor.
Devoted To Ballet
Beth Comeau started dancing at the young age of 4 at Peters Studio of Dance in Montgomery County, Maryland. She fell in love with the sport, and with her teacher. She felt a fire to improve with each dance step. When she turned 13, Beth switched schools to attend the Maryland Youth Ballet. She worked hard and was determined to be a professional dancer.
After she graduated from high school in 1986, Comeau attended a summer program in Milwaukee. However, this did not end up being the dream she thought it would be. Beth told Baltimore Sun that “t hit me – I wasn’t protected, going back to my home studio in the fall. This was it. I missed my family, and I think in a way I was scared not to go to college…I was never going to be a principal, unless it was a small, small company.” While it was hard to accept the change of plans, Beth ultimately decided to set her eyes on a different passion.
From Dancer To Doctor
After her summer in Milwaukee, Beth returned home and enrolled in the University of Maryland. She spent some time studying business, while also teaching dance classes on the side. However, this wasn’t the right fit. After one night when her father suggested a degree in medicine, she remembered how much she loved her “personal and community health” elective in High School. She also loved working with children. It was a perfect fit.
Studying to be a doctor can be hard. However, Beth said her ballet training turned out to be a huge help. She told Baltimore Sun that “I channeled that focus I learned in ballet into academics. I never worked so hard in my life. But I had such inner discipline. I was so focused, coming from my ballet background. And I think there was a maturity that you gain when you’re involved in these sorts of activities.”
Comeau graduated from medical school in 1995 and continued on to her residency program. She accepted a faculty member position at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1998. However, by this pointe she had three daughters and wanted to spend more time with them. In 2002, she left her faculty position to become a part-time emergency room physician. Comeau says “Your happiness comes from your passion, yes, but also from your relationships with people.”
While attending Maryland Youth Ballet, Beth studied alongside a young Julie Kent, who is currently a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. While Beth is no longer dancing ballet, the two still remember each other from that time. Kent wrote Baltimore Sun saying “Not many students of classical arts go on to professional careers in that field. But what is gained by the entire experience will reward you throughout your life. The friendships, the love of an art, the ability to understand something about humanity on a different level all serve an important purpose. I am very proud of Beth. … Her contributions to this world make a difference. What more could you ask?”
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Elizabeth Radabaugh is the StarQuest Social Media Production Assistant. She loves everything Disney and delicious.