Being from eastern North Carolina, how important is the Brody School of Medicine to the region?
Our medical school is nationally ranked for primary care because its mission is to serve the rural areas of this region. Brody serves most of the complex medical issues in a rather larger portion of the state. In Morehead City, where I’m from, we are more than an hour away from Greenville, but we still send all our complex cases here. So Brody is really great in the fact that we are serving so many in this region. Growing up, I saw that when someone I knew got really sick, they went to Brody. So that was one of the things that really attracted me to Brody, that it is the hub of medicine in the region.
How else does the Brody School of Medicine contribute to the community?
I’ve been involved with the Greenville Homeless Shelter clinic since I was a first-year medical student. The clinic was originally founded in 1986 by medical students, and it’s been going ever since. For medical students, the shelter is a great experience because in medical school, students are stuck in the classroom for the first two years. It’s all books and studying and not much hands-on experience. When I was a first-year student, I really wanted to see patients, and working at the clinic is the one way to connect with patients early on. It reminds you why you are learning what you are learning in class. Also, a lot of pre-med students volunteer there. We at the clinic, have gone over to main campus and done information sessions for students to let them know that the volunteer opportunities at the shelter exist. I think that’s helped undergraduates interested in medicine, and helped make sure that Main Campus and the medical school stay connected to one another.
You will serve as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow this fall in Gabon. What are looking forward to most about that opportunity?
I’ve always been interested in international medicine. Doctors Without Borders has always been one of my goals to be able to do when I become a physician one day. Educationally, I think it will be a big eye opener to see how they practice in Africa, and how they meet the needs that they have. I’m looking forward to bringing that knowledge and experience back here because I plan on staying here in eastern North Carolina to practice medicine. I also feel that my experiences at the Greenville Homeless Shelter clinic will help me in Gabon. All the experiences I have there will help me be a better physician in the future.