Student-doctors, faculty reflect on Dr. Ben Carson’s visit to LU/LUCOM
While he is known to most people as a candidate in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Dr. Ben Carson’s visit to Lynchburg was special in a different way for student-doctors and faculty at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) due to his impressive resume as a neurosurgeon.
Dr. Carson visited Liberty University and LUCOM on Nov. 11. He started his day speaking to the LU student body during the weekly convocation. LUCOM student-doctors were given a special seating area in front of the stage and wore their white coats symbolizing their commitment to caring for others.
Touching on everything from his educational background to his family, Dr. Carson explained to the crowd of 13,000 his vision for the United States. LUCOM-Student Government Association (SGA) Vice-President Anya Pacleb says one part of his address in the Vines Center really stood out in her mind as she prepares to enter the medical field.
“I really appreciated the perspective he brought when speaking about the conflict between ‘scientists’ and those who ground their faith and beliefs in religion,” said Pacleb, Class of 2018. “It brought together different, and sometimes opposing, viewpoints in a beautiful way: our knowledge about our universe and the facts we know have brought us much insight into how things were made. But when we ask ourselves ‘why?’ having faith in one’s religion bridges the gap between what we don’t know, and what we do know.”
Pacleb and LUCOM-SGA President David Winston were a part of the group that greeted and accompanied Dr. Carson when he toured the Center for Medical and Health Sciences later in the afternoon.
“It was an honor to shake the hand of such a gifted surgeon, whose hands have brought hope and healing to so many people,” said Winston, Class of 2018.
After a brief press conference with local and national media outlets, LUCOM Dean Ronnie Martin, D.O., took Dr. Carson on a tour of the building. He started with the Center for Standardized Patients and Simulation (SIM lab) where student-doctors learn in simulated environments as well as interact with trained actors.
Dr. Martin remembers the presidential candidate as being very curious throughout the tour and also showing his support for the mission of LUCOM.
“Dr. Carson agreed with our concepts about how important it was to treat each patient as an individual and not a disease and also agreed with our emphasis on the whole patient - body, mind and spirit,” said Dr. Martin. “He talked about how important it is for student-doctors to develop their dedication to taking care of patients while in school because that’s just as important as learning to treat pathology and disease.”
In both of the labs, Dr. Carson addressed student-doctors about his memories of medical school and the impact their careers have.
“I believe that you are entering into the most noble profession on the face of the earth,” Dr. Carson explained to student-doctors in the Anatomy Lab. “Don’t ever allow yourself to be corrupted by circumstances, by money, by politics, by anything. Because what they have placed in your hands are people’s lives. And we must remember that this is a culture of life, and it is the most important thing a person can possess other than their faith.”
These words of wisdom impacted Winston and other student-doctors.
“I am inspired by his life and by how profoundly his faith informs his practice. His example of overcoming adversity and difficult situations encourages me to press on and embrace my gifts as a physician in training, using them to offer hope and help to others,” said Winston.
Since medical school can be a challenging and demanding part of an aspiring physician’s life, Winston and other student-doctors were able to leave LUCOM on Nov. 11 with an affirmation of the career path they have chosen.
“As I look back on it, there is nothing that begins to compare with the satisfaction of bringing someone quality of life,” said Dr. Carson. “There are few careers more rewarding than medicine.”