Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - liza-haggenjos-300x300.png image #0Name: Liza Haggenjos
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional school: pursuing a Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, class of 2021
Contact me: lh245989@pcom.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
In medical school, so far, I’ve enjoyed how applicable anatomy is when learning our systems based blocks. The relationship between structure and function helps when learning physiology. It also helps with our OMM course to visualize the muscles in the body.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
My junior year, I studied for the MCAT and took it in April. Then I researched the essay questions for the primary applications while asking mentors and faculty for letters of recommendation so as to have everything written and polished to submit my primaries as soon as possible. I subsequently did the same for my secondaries. After all that, my decision came down to location -did I get accepted to a place I wanted to live? I knew I wanted a DO program and I applied to those I wanted to be a part of.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Medical school is always hard and is even harder when students don’t seek help for whatever their problems may be. During my first semester, I felt like I was falling behind and worried it would impact my performance. In response, I made an appointment with a professor and discussed how I can improve. The faculty at medical schools have seen everything and genuinely want their students to succeed.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
Residency, likely in primary care.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
First, shadow medical professionals or get as much clinical experience as possible to gain a good foundation of medicine in the US. Second, develop a good schedule to accomplish school work but to also build in time to relax.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physician

Denisonians in health professions: physician - katelyn-benson-255x300.png image #0Name: Katelyn Benson
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a MD (class of 2022) and has completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Buffalo
Contact me: benson_k2@denison.edu

What was the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content most engaged you?
In graduate school for public health, I studied health behavior and community health. I was most engaged in linking homeless populations in Buffalo, NY to health care, as well as pilot study that integrated behavioral health and primary care services. I was excited to study the sociocultural factors that influence decisions surrounding wellness and healthcare. Next, I will begin medical school.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
A number of factors influenced my application decisions, but a few standout factors most impacted my experience in school. These were location and faculty interest. My graduate program was smaller, which allowed faculty to dedicate ample time to student interests. It was great to match with a faculty advisor who had similar research interests and extensive experience in the field. Location is particularly important in public health because of the practical field work tied to the degree. In Buffalo, local agencies lead essential public health programs that students are able to work within.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Finding my specific passion was the biggest challenge I faced during my two years masters degree. When I started, I was interested in health care access and mental health. I found that these two areas are entirely too broad. To narrow my focus, I got involved in a couple different projects right from the start. From there, I was able to determine which aspects of the work sparked my interest and aligned best with my career goals. For me, this was direct communication with study participants and community members. For others, it may be more data analysis or public policy oriented.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I will be starting medical school soon. Upon graduation, I hope to practice medicine in a primary care field while maintaining a role in health care access for vulnerable populations.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
If you are considering a career in public health, it is important to realize that it is an enormous field. Take time to consider your strengths and read about the various disciplines to see what might be right for you. From health services administration to infectious outbreak investigation, there is a specialty for anyone who wants to play a role in improving general health and wellbeing.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physician

Denisonians in health: physician - nail-scoggins-214x300.png image #0Name: Na’il Scoggins
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing an MD degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin, class of 2020
Contact me: scoggi_n1@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
The focus of medical school is to learn how to fully care for patients through medical knowledge, cultural competency, patient advocacy, and interprofessional collaboration. Thus far in medical school, I have enjoyed the opportunities to interact with patients because it is a skill that we get to develop in clinics and the community. I also really enjoyed our clinical anatomy course. Each year, people sacrifice their bodies so that we can practice the art of dissecting to learn about the human body. Last, I enjoy the opportunity to problem solve. We have various opportunities to work alongside our classmates or physicians, before the clinical years, to solve through complex patient cases to provide the best care for them.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
A number of factors went into me selecting the my current school, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). First, I wanted to choose a school that supported me as an underrepresented medical student. I participated in diversity pipeline programs from 2012-2017 at MCW so I knew I would be institutionally supported as a minority student. I also became part of the Student National Medical Association, a student-led organization that focuses on supporting underrepresented (pre)-medical students and creating culturally-competent physicians. Second, I wanted a school that allowed me to supplement my education in the first two science years with some clinical experiences and community involvement. MCW is part of a medical campus that includes Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and other specialty clinics, which are places I can volunteer or shadow physicians. I am also part of an Urban & Community Health pathway that allows me to volunteer in medical and non-medical ways in Milwaukee. Third, I knew that medical school would be more rigorous than college. Therefore, I wanted to attend medical school in my hometown so that I could have family support on this academic journey.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
My first challenge was having to study for the MCAT the second semester of my junior year while also taking a full course load at Denison. I had a lot of late nights but pulled through the semester. In the end, I did not have to retake the MCAT so I received my score in good enough time to be a competitive applicant. Finances were also a challenge, with applications, travel, and lodging costs for interviews. I overcame some financial costs by qualifying for the Fee Assistance Program through the AAMC, funds through Denison’s Knowlton Center for Career Exploration, and asking medical school students to host me for interviews. Also, since prerequisites are slightly different between schools and it gets hard to keep track of schools and where you stand in the application process, a way I stayed organized was creating an Excel document with all this information in one place. Another challenge I had was not receiving adequate information early in my college career about the process of applying to medical school. Since I was a first-generation student, I overcame this by relying on my network of friends I made through MCW’s pipeline programs who had completed the medical school application process.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I plan to enter a residency program. I aspire to be a pediatrician but I am open to exploring other fields of medicine.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
First, plan your schedule in a way that does not give you such a heavy course load while studying for the MCAT. Second, try to determine as early as possible whether you intend on being a traditional student (entering medical school directly after college) or taking a gap year(s). This will help you plan out your timeline to medical school better. Third, continue shadowing physicians and other health professions to make sure that being a physician is a career you want to dedicate your life to. Fourth, remember that you do not major in the sciences as long as you finish all the pre-med requisites. If you are not passionate about the extra science classes, you do not have to take them. However, it is more convenient because the pre-med requisites fit into science majors easier. Fifth, continue doing things that foster community and build relationships. Medical knowledge is important for being a physician but if you cannot make a patient feel comfortable enough to let you into their lives, the rest does not matter. Last, keep doing the things that you enjoy. Medical school is very stressful and there is even less time to do what you enjoy.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Physician

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic physician - douglas-kubek.png image #0Douglas Kubek ’90

Role: Osteopathic Physician

Professional School(s) attended: Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduated in 1995 

Current titles: Henry Ford Health System Director of Residency Program Otolaryngology Facial Plastic Surgery, Director of Sleep Medicine Lakeshore Ear Nose and Throat

Fun Fact: I’m an avid surfer and backcountry skier  

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I did several internships with physicians to decide what specialty to pursue. I have always wanted to be a physician and was influence by my father who is a physician.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
Making connections with my patients and being part of the process to achieve better health for them. I also enjoy the surgical options for treatment.     

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Caring for patients that, unfortunately, ultimately die from their disease process.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.       
I’m in the office 2-3 days a week from 8:00am-4:30pm and then have surgery scheduled for 2-3 days a week.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Spend some time with a physician to see if this occupation/profession is a passionate calling. Study as hard as possible to achieve a high GPA and MCAT, get involved in clinical research and medically related community service.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Team Physician

Denisonians in health professions: team physician - grant-jones-205x300.png image #0Grant Jones ’88

Role: Allopathic Team Physician

Professional School attended:
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, graduated in 1992

Current Titles: Team Physician-Department of Athletics and Professor- Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Fun Fact: As a team physician for Ohio State’s basketball team, I have been known to get excited at times during games.  During one game, one of our players hit a game-winning shot to win the Big Ten Title.  I was so excited that I ran onto the court before realizing that there were .7 seconds left on the clock.  I promptly ran back to the bench, but not before being caught on TV doing so.  Unfortunately, the mad shot was the ESPN play of the week that was replayed over and over again.  I could not watch ESPN for a week due to the embarrassment!

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I was injured quite often growing up- several lacerations and broken bones.  So, I spent a lot of time in physician’s offices, particular Orthopaedic surgeons.  And, all of the physicians I met seemed to really enjoy what they were doing.  I was also influenced by my brother, who also went to Denison, four years ahead of me.  He ended up in pre-medicine and then went on to medical school at Ohio State as well.  In terms of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, my specialty, I love sports and I love surgery, so my occupation allows me to do both.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
I really enjoy surgery, particularly challenging cases, during which you often have to be real creative.  I also enjoy covering athletic events and covering athletic training rooms.  It is very gratifying to see an athlete whom I have worked on return to his or her sport.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The hours can be very long.  Some days, I leave at 5 o’clock in the morning to do surgery, and then have to go straight from work to cover a sporting event until 11-12 at night.  I also take trauma calls, during which I am up operating all night before having to go into work that AM.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
Surgery usually starts at 7 AM.  I then operate until 3-5 PM depending on the day.  After that, I often cover one of OSU’s athletic training rooms until 5-6 PM.  During the school year, I often have to cover sporting events after training room.  If there are no sporting events to cover, then I return home around 6 and eat dinner with my family before getting a work out in.         

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Spend as much time as possible shadowing physicians to make sure that this field is right for you.  Work is often difficult and long, but it is very gratifying when you can help someone.  Make sure that you are able to put the time and effort into medical school, residency and practicing medicine.  It is a lot of hard work.  Also, I would advise looking into completing summer research projects in medicine.  This certainly helps when applying to medical school.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physician Assistant

Denisonians in health professions: physician assistant - tiffani-dorn-294x300.png image #0Tiffani Dorn ’12

Role: Physician Assistant 
Professional School attended: Ohio Dominican University, graduated 2014           
Fun Fact: I am a youth leader and also lead mission teams to Honduras annually.

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I initially decided on going into medicine when speaking with a gentleman who ran a mission organization in Haiti. I asked him for advice as someone who wanted to do mission work. He said one of the best things to do is to learn a skill that I could use on the field. That was the summer before starting college, so I started looking into medical school at that point. However, in the back of my mind, I was concerned with the amount of time and money it would take before I could practice on my own.

In 2009 after my sophomore year, I went to Haiti for 3 weeks for a medical mission internship. Fortunately, that summer there was a PA from Kentucky working there with his family for 2 months who mentored me. After learning about the PA profession and that PAs can do almost everything that a physician can with a much more condensed schooling and tuition cost (though still a huge commitment), I decided that’s what I wanted to do.

I did a medical mission internship in Ghana in 2011 to get more experience in healthcare and serve the underserved.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
The best part about being a PA is having the knowledge and skill set to really help people. As compared to other healthcare providers (MDs, DOs, and NPs), PAs do not have to specialize in a certain field so we can transition between specialties. So far, I have worked in urgent care as a solo provider and in orthopedics seeing patients in the office and first assisting in surgery. I also like having the autonomy to see my own patients and do what I think is best for their care, while also having a physician who I can consult if I see something I have not seen before.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Any job in medicine is challenging. It is mentally challenging (in a good way!) to assess patients and come up with the best treatment of care for that unique person. It also has its social and bureaucratic challenges in both the work setting and with patients who may think differently than you or may not be compliant with their healthcare. Also, the paperwork is my least favorite and most time consuming thing.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.       
In my orthopedic job, my typical day consists of seeing patients for follow-up, post-op, or walk-in appointments. I do a history and physical exam of each patient, order and interpret testing (x-rays, MRI, CT, labs, EMG, etc.) when needed, give joint injections, fit braces, give rehabilitative exercises, place casts and splints, and whatever else is needed. In surgery, I work as a “first assist”. This includes helping prep the patient for surgery, retract tissue, suction, close the incision (suture/staple), dress the wound, and help get the patient back to the post-op area.

In my urgent care job, I was the only provider on my days there. I would see each patient that came in, diagnose them or order proper testing, and prescribe medication. I would also do any procedures and perform physicals.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
I would advise you to shadow in the field to see if it is something you really enjoy! I have had multiple students shadow with me and love answering any questions and showing them what a PA does! I would also advise you to really think about your motivations for wanting to be a PA (or whatever you decide) and use that as inspiration when times get tough or stressful.