This program provides an amazing opportunity
by David Charles Henderson
I am excited for a career in family medicine and the TIP program is a wonderful opportunity to begin that journey. I have taken the scenic route to arrive at where I am now and rejoice in that knowledge because it has strengthened my resolve that this truly in the right field for me. I became interested in medicine after I began school to become an EMT. My original goal was to become a firefighter. I began with the EMT coursework first because I thought it represented the most dreaded part of being a firefighter and I wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible. It was the first day of the clinical rotations in that program that I fell in love with the practice of medicine and have been pulled, unwaveringly, to medicine since. I realized that I had to become a doctor. I finished up school, became a paramedic, and then worked nights on the ambulance to support myself and my family as I finished my bachelors during the day.
I was fortunate to be accepted into my first choice for medical schools, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. I appreciated the holistic approach to the patient and the dedication to the communities throughout Michigan. It was by fortune that my first PBL module in my second year curriculum was led by a great family physician preceptor that is also faculty in the Grand Rapids residency program. The experience with him planted a seed early about this amazing discipline. He was the type of physician that I really wanted to become, his knowledge was broad in spectrum and his view of the patient was comprehensive.
What drew me into medicine, what were my skills and what do I want out of my life? I carefully weighed and explored all the options and firmly believe that family medicine is the solution. I enjoy every facet of medicine, and family practice will allow me to participate in the full scope of the human experience throughout my life. I was overwhelmed at the privilege after delivering my first baby on the OB service, and the 30th felt just as amazing. I enjoyed counseling new parents on the safety and nutrition of their babies and watching others reach their milestones. As a paramedic I held a 40-year-old man’s hand as he cried, and then prayed with him shortly after defibrillating him back from a terminal heart rhythm. I realized ultimately that I was interested in the relationship between the physician and the patient. I realized that I wanted to be a hybrid of coach, the quarterback and the cheerleader for the people that entrusted their health and wellbeing to me.
This program provides an amazing opportunity to begin this life’s work and the ability to lay the foundation for goals for my career. Foremost, I am a father and it gives me the stability and knowledge of where I will spend residency so that I can perform the most important job that I have. Family medicine and Grand Rapids would be a wonderful solution to that concern.
Academically, it allows me to work on professional interests. I have a strong interest in medical education and knowledge acquisition. I attended the TEACH Conference through the New York Academy of Medicine through a grant from the college, which helped me build this interest and to foster a desire to continue to learn better ways to teach others the latest research by evidence-based means. I have set up a project for next year if I am accepted into the program to explore these avenues. I have begun planning a project involving a simulation program with GRMEP, the medical education consortium in Grand Rapids. The project involves the development of a skill based simulation curriculum that will be portable across skills as well as medical specialties.
I also feel that I would be an asset to the program and to the residency because I am a nontraditional student. I am fortunate to have worked and supported a family prior to admission to medical school. My entire medical school career has involved balancing my academics with the demands of being a father and family. During my medical school career I have overcome some challenges as well. I have unfortunately had to bury my father and have undergone divorce. I feel like these may have prevented me from realizing my true potential to some extent, but am contented with my successful academic career and accomplishments despite these adversities. I take pride in working through these difficulties without delaying my education and while accomplishing a solid performance on my examinations. I also think that it gives me perspective to relate to my colleagues, providing them a friendly and understanding ear, when they face hardships and improves my relationships with patients, by being able to empathize with some of their barriers. I appreciate the opportunities that I so far experienced. Thank you for your consideration for this scholarship as I continue my journey through my medical education.