May 23, 2014
Boonshoft School of Medicine holds commencement ceremony on May 23
Each student has a different story about his or her medical school journey — here are just a few
DAYTON, Ohio—The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine held its annual graduation ceremony on May 23 at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton. The graduating class includes 105 medical students.
- John Corker might be the next medical correspondent for a major news network. The 2012-13 American Medical Association (AMA) government relations advocacy fellow is combining his passion for emergency medicine with medical journalism.
- Despite living with hemophilia, Kyle Davis is achieving his dream of becoming a pediatrician. He will return to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to begin a residency in pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
- Encouraged by a high school teacher, Ashley Hotz is committed to practicing medicine in Ohio. She wants to improve preventive medicine and be an advocate for those in the community. She will begin her residency in internal medicine this summer at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.
- Committed to Dayton, Paul Krebs will begin a residency in family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine. He is looking forward to making an impact in the lives of his patients and the community.
- After witnessing friends and neighbors suffering from preventable diseases in Kenya, John Muriithi will pursue a career in gastroenterology and hepatology and will participate in medical mission trips to Kenya.
More details about each of these graduating medical students are included in the stories below.
As an undergraduate student, John Corker first learned about the plight of the uninsured through his volunteer work at a hospital. Concerned about the number of uninsured Americans, he began exploring health policy in addition to his undergraduate studies.
During medical school, he shared his knowledge with other students through his role as a host and director at Radio Rounds (radiorounds.org), the nation’s only medical talk show created and hosted entirely by medical students, and as the health care correspondent for the NextGen Journal, an online publication run by a nationwide team of college and graduate students.
After his third year of medical school, Corker, a Cincinnati native, was selected for the 2012-13 Government Relations Advocacy Fellowship with the American Medical Association (AMA) in Washington, D.C. He analyzed various issues, including health care delivery reform, physician payment reform, medical liability reform and funding for graduate medical education.
He traveled around the nation and discussed health care policy with medical students, residents and young physicians. He wrote about health care current events, health policy and medical ethics. His work was published in USA Today and Primary Care Progress.
He also received the AMA’s 2013 Johnson F. Hammond, M.D., Physicians of Tomorrow Award for his commitment to medical journalism. “While I look forward to a long clinical career caring for patients in the emergency room, I also want to apply my lifelong passions for discovery, writing and teaching on a broader scale as a medical journalist,” he said.
He will begin his residency in emergency medicine this summer at Parkland Hospital at University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, which is home to one of the busiest emergency departments in the United States. “My work as an emergency physician and a medical journalist will complement each other, allowing me to positively impact people’s lives both on the individual and population levels,” he said. “While training to become an elite care provider for my patients, I look forward to digging deeper into the big-picture issues that impact the clinical realm and my patients’ lives, and sharing my discoveries with the general public through broadcast and print media.”
Diagnosed at six months with hemophilia, a rare blood clotting disorder caused by inactive or deficient blood proteins, Kyle Davis has known since fourth grade that he wanted to enter the pediatric hematology/oncology field after shadowing his hematologist.
Davis had ankle bleeds at least once every two weeks as a young child. At age seven, he started prophylactic, or preventive, treatment with his parents’ help. When he was a teenager, his hemophilia nurse trained him to self-infuse the missing blood factor. Today, he self-infuses every other day and has not let hemophilia stop him. He enjoys an active lifestyle, including road biking and weight lifting. He recently hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in eastern Africa.
Davis is one of 18 national community speakers with the Baxter Healthcare True Identity Program. He educates families and patients about the importance of adhering to prophylactic treatment. He spoke before the Ohio Health and Human Services Subcommittee as an advocate for funding the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps program in April 2011.
In medical school, he served as the copresident of the Boonshoft School of Medicine Pediatrics Club and as vice president of Phi Rho Sigma, a service organization. He attended the 2012 World Federation of Hemophilia World Congress in Paris, France. In 2013, he was one of 15 recipients nationwide to receive the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Award. In May, he spoke in front of 700 people at the 2014 World Federation of Hemophilia World Congress in Australia. He is also the recipient of the U.S. Public Health Service 2014 Excellence in Public Health Award.
Davis wants to become the director of a hematology/oncology center in the United States and dedicate a portion of his career to international medicine. In Tanzania, he and his girlfriend, Shaina Hecht, another WSU medical student who is graduating, spent four weeks at a rural hospital working on the pediatric and adult medicine wards.
He will return to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for a residency in pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “I am excited about how much I have learned during my four years of medical school and how much more there is to learn in my next three years training to become a pediatrician,” he said. “My favorite parts of my day are discussing patients’ concerns, answering their questions and educating them about their condition.”
A high school physiology teacher encouraged Ashley Hotz to pursue her dream of becoming a physician. “I was encouraged by teachers, particularly Mr. Bill Fox, to pursue my interest in medicine,” said Hotz, who is a graduate of Springboro High School, in Springboro, Ohio.
A recipient of a Choose Ohio First Primary Care Scholarship, Hotz is committed to practicing primary care internal medicine in Ohio for three years after completing her residency. She will begin her residency in internal medicine this summer at the Boonshoft School of Medicine. “Ohio is a great state in which to practice medicine and raise families,” she said. “Physicians I’ve worked with are very happy here. They often mention how good the education system is in Ohio, particularly in the greater Dayton area.”
She was drawn to internal medicine because of her interest in many areas of medicine and the constant collaboration with other specialties. Internal medicine also offers her the option to further specialize to adapt to the changing environment of medicine.
“During medical school, I’ve been fortunate to work with great individuals here in Dayton, some of them at the forefront of innovative programs aimed at providing more comprehensive training opportunities to residents and students,” said Hotz, who participated in the Boonshoft chapter of the American Medical Student Association.
She was a class representative all four years of medical school. She worked directly with faculty at times to help aid efforts in curriculum and resource improvements. She also spoke on behalf of classmates at a meeting with an AAMC consultant as part of the medical school accreditation process. “I believe strongly in advocating for those in the community, even in the school setting,” she said. “I hope to continue advocating for others at a community level in the future.”
She feels strongly about improving preventive medicine. She is involved in research aimed at identifying reliable blood markers that could detect the earliest signs of malignant tumors of the esophagus and prevent invasive biopsy testing. “I hope to continue research efforts in preventive medicine in the future,” she said.
From raising money for his medical school’s class fund to helping organize the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) AIDS Benefit 5K in 2011 and 2012, Paul Krebs has been involved in many service and leadership activities.
During spring break of his first year of medical school, he went to New Orleans as part of a service trip, where he spent the week volunteering with Camp Restore repairing and rebuilding schools, parks and homes that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Students are required to complete 60 hours of service learning during the first two years of medical school. Krebs, who ranks first in his class, completed 246 hours of service learning. In Dayton, he spends free weekends helping at St. Anthony of Padua’s Food Pantry. He also is a volunteer assistant cross country and track coach at Alter High School in Kettering, his alma mater.
“Being a high school coach has provided me with an opportunity to become a better communicator and leader,” said Krebs, who wants to continue being involved in the community. “It has allowed me to have a positive impact on students during important years in their lives, whether it is helping a freshman get acclimated to a new school or discussing how to prepare for college with one of the senior student athletes.”
Krebs was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in his senior year and to the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society, Wright State Chapter, in his junior year. He also received the McGraw-Hill Companies Medical Publishing Lange Student Award, Molecular Basis of Medicine Award for Outstanding Excellence, Montgomery County Medical Society Alliance Scholarship and the School of Medicine Chester E. Finn, Donald L. Ranville, Academic Affairs, and Physicians Scholarships.
He was drawn to family medicine because he wants to work with patients of various ages and provide long-term patient care. “I was blessed with great mentors here at Wright State, including Dr. Michael Barrow and Dr. Kurt Avery, who demonstrated humanism and professionalism in medicine in addition to showing me the impact family physicians can have in the community and in the lives of their patients,” said Krebs, who will begin his residency in family medicine this summer at the Boonshoft School of Medicine and ultimately wants to practice family medicine in Dayton.
Born and raised in a rural village in Kenya, John Muriithi’s desire to go into health care began when he was a young boy. Every time he visited the local health professionals, who were nurses, with complaints of stomach pains, they diagnosed him with amoebas in his stomach. “I was amazed at how they could decipher what was troubling me,” he said. “The embers of medical profession started simmering inside me.”
Communicable disease and a shortage of resources were rampant in his community. He witnessed preventable diseases decimate many of his friends and neighbors. The HIV/AIDS pandemic also hit his village. In high school, he enjoyed science and language-based subjects. After high school, he went to the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “I opted to join the university and pursue a career in nursing hoping to improve health and fight diseases in my community.”
After practicing nursing in Kenya, he came to the United States and was a nurse in Denver. Then, his wife, Ruth Wambui Muriithi, M.D., also from Kenya, did her residency in internal medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine. In 2007, they moved to Dayton, where he continued to work as a nurse, while his wife completed her residency and he took care of their two young children, Grace and Emily. Eventually, he took courses at Wright State to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test and medical school.
With young children, a wife who is a busy physician in Dayton and medical school classes, he could have given up his dream of becoming a physician. But he persevered. He managed to balance his studies and his family obligations both in Dayton and Kenya. He traveled between semesters to Kenya because of family illness but made it back in time to continue medical school classes. A son, Jimmy, was born while he was in medical school.
“My parents inculcated in me the values of tenaciously grappling with life’s vicissitudes with resolve, resoluteness, self-confidence and hard work,” he said. “With me wearing caps as a medical student, a devoted father and a loving husband, I have learned as a matter of necessity to be flexible, focused, prioritized and organized in all that I do.”
He will begin his residency in internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center this summer. “The breadth and scope of internal medicine allows me to get the best training and medical experiences to optimally treat my patients,” said Muriithi, who plans to pursue a career in gastroenterology and hepatology and participate in medical missions to Kenya. “This is very important to me, as I plan to spend some time serving in areas where dearth of health care still bites deep.”
Editors note: Click on any photo above to view a larger size suitable for print.