Who We Are
Spotlight on Connecticut Students & Residents
Undergraduate Institution: Hartwick College
Medical School: Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Middletown, NY
Where are you from?
I grew up in Spring Glen, NY, a very small and rural area not too far from Sharon actually. I spent a lot of my time outdoors growing up; hiking, fishing, and participating in all kinds of sports.
In the very beginning, what inspired you to study medicine?
To be honest, I am still not 100% sure what I want to be when I grow up. I felt a call to help and serve people, and my academic and personal endeavors led me to medicine. I like the challenge of medicine, I enjoy the lifelong commitment to learning. I like the puzzle, but I also like having an answer. I think the hardest moments in medicine occur when we do not know the answer, and can't figure out a true solution for someone.
I really enjoy the personal relationships, opening up to people to hear their story, one that hopefully goes beyond disease and sickness. I have this vision in my head of going toe to toe with death and disease. Death is inevitable, but my purpose is to prolong death as long as possible, while also striving to give you the best quality of life.
And why Osteopathic Medicine?
I truly appreciate the hands-on and whole-person approach to medicine. I had a big interest in going into chiropractic or physical therapy, two very rewarding fields in their own right, but I wanted the opportunity to do more. Osteopathic medicine was the perfect fit. I could perform manual therapy, which is an amazingly efficient tool to have in my back pocket when needed. The body is a fascinating creation, and when fueled appropriately and cared for accurately it's stunning to watch someone heal. For some problems its effect is immediate, if someone can come in with pain, and not have pain when they leave, without taking any medication, that is a wonderful thing! Manual therapy is not a cure all for all conditions, but it can definitely be implemented and complement most patient plans.
What has been the most interesting experience during your training at Sharon Hospital?
I think the most interesting experiences so far have come from watching my preceptors. I spent two weeks in the physical therapy department, two weeks in radiology and two weeks in family medicine. The amount of knowledge that they have is unbelievable. It is wonderful seeing them interact with their patients, being confident in their diagnosis and decisions and helping me bridge the gap from book learning to clinical practice. Just watching medicine practiced appropriately before your eyes, helping with procedures and working with patients one on one has made learning much more gratifying, interesting, and practical.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of medicine?
I live with three other medical students in Lakeville, CT. So when not preoccupied by studying, Mike, Min Je, Noah, and I really take advantage of our surrounding area. We do a lot of hiking, swimming, running, we go to the gym. Disc golf has become one of our new activities (mainly because we are still student doctors and we are all terrible at real golf). We also do not have a TV at the house, so we will watch Netflix when we get the chance (it is a rare treat). We are excited and looking forward to winter activities and finding ways to get involved with the community while we are here.
What is next for you? Immediate plans after this year?
Only one thing is certain and that is that we are in Sharon until the end of June. After that, everything is still up in the air. Next year we will be doing audition rotations at any hospital that might have a residency program that we are interested in. There is the possibility that we may be in Sharon for a short while next year, but that has yet to be determined.
What are your long term practice goals?
I am using this year to really hone in on my calling. I'm waiting for that, “Ah Ha! This is what I am supposed to do!” I worked as a tech in an ER for a while between undergrad and medical school, I really enjoyed that. I also like the manual therapy and some of the interventions I saw in radiology. So I am still uncertain. I do have the option of going back home to Ellenville and practicing with a friend who is finishing his second year of residency. But I am keeping an open mind, the possibilities are endless.
How do you feel about studying in Connecticut at Sharon?
As a third year medical student, it is so rare to be able to work one-on-one with an attending physician, but that is the opportunity we have here. We have been able to learn, do, and see more than some of our counterparts and classmates in other places. So there are huge advantages to studying here at Sharon. We have also had some pretty interesting cases that we've discussed. And at the end of the day, it is only humanly possible to see a certain number of patients. So whether you are working in a 78 bed hospital or a 478 bed hospital, you are still limited by the number of hours in the day. At Sharon, as students we are fortunate that we not only get to round on patients, but we also get to interact and influence patient care. Our opinion is heard and honored, which makes the transition from student to physician so much more enjoyable.
Would you be interested in staying and practicing in Connecticut once you’re finished with your education and training?
I really do love the northeast corner of the United States and this area is one of the most scenic I've ever seen. During one of my years between undergrad and medical school I spent the year volunteering and playing in a Christian Ministry band partnering with an organization called Youth Encounter. I traveled through 29 states and over 35,000 miles playing shows and living with people in a wide variety of places. From that experience I've learned that there really is no perfect place to live. You find the positive and negatives about that place and you focus on the positives! So if my journey through training brings me back to Connecticut, I would not be upset in the slightest! There aren't too many other locations with scenic rural areas, close to NYC with all four seasons.
Anything we did not ask you that you’d like to share about yourself?
Another reason I feel a call to medicine stems from the generosity of another doctor My twin brother (who is finishing chiropractic school in Minneapolis) and I were born prematurely with under developed lungs. We spent additional weeks in the hospital. My father had just started work for the NYS DOC and my mother was looking for a job as a math teacher. The hospital bills that they received were astronomical because of our complications, hospital transports, and at that time the "fee" of a doctor's signature. Shortly after our birth, collection agencies began calling the house. My parents were struggling to make ends meet, but promised to pay whatever amount was feasible. After meeting with the financial officer of the hospital, going over expenses and incomes, it was determined that they could pay $5 a month. It was all they could afford. After a short time, and even determining this value, they were still being harassed by a collection agency. After another phone call to the hospital, the head physician left a message for my parents to show up and bring their financial information. Although this had already been done, they met with the physician. He looked over their paperwork, left the room and quietly returned. He placed in front of my father a contract and told him to sign the last line. My father being skeptical was weary and said no. The doctor urged him to sign, and do so quickly. My father scanned the document, and had realized that the physician wrote up a personal contract absolving my parents from all debt owed to the hospital. He told them to make sure they raised us right, and enjoy parenthood. That physician, it turns out is a pretty well-known neonatologist, Dr. Harry Dweck. Without his intensive care and surely without his financial forgiveness I would never have been able to get to this point. Sadly Dr. Dweck passed away in a car accident in 1998. I never had the opportunity to thank him before his passing. But hopefully now I'll be in the position to pay it forward.