Mission Driven Medicine
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Posted by: Krista Chuscavage
Mary Ann Galagate talks about her Residency Experience
Mary Ann Galagate, Class of 2011, is a woman on a mission. Not only was she a member of the first class of ATSU SOMA/NWRPCA Regional Campus students, but she is also the first graduate to accept a permanent position with one of our member health centers. We asked her to share her story and reflect on how it speaks to the education at ATSU SOMA/NWRPCA. The following is her experience and advice, in her own words:
One important tidbit that I picked up in life is to have your own personal mission statement and to follow it in order to always stay true to yourself and beliefs; it hasn't steered me wrong.
As a part of the inaugural class, I started medical school with the optimism that A.T. Still University SOMA evoked in its mission statement to serve underserved communities, especially in working with community health centers.
I completed family medicine residency at Central Washington Family Medicine in Yakima, Washington, a DO/MD accredited program, part of the University of Washington's nationally renowned family medicine network and one of two family medicine DO programs in the Northwest at the time. To again find a program so truly aligned to its mission statement as a Federally Qualified Health Center became a source of comfort that enabled me to flourish in learning medicine, eventually becoming chief resident.
In the same respect, I'm looking forward to working for the Multnomah County Health Department starting in September. I feel like I've come full-circle; I've served in some of the most impoverished parts of the world and now I've returned to the neighborhood where I was born and raised, which now has the highest poverty level in Multnomah County.
Day-to-day, it can feel like you're just going through the motions as a doctor and you're not really sure if you're making the kind of difference you would hope in improving the lives of your patients. But, as I made the transition out of residency, I was overwhelmed with emotion as I said goodbye to my patients with whom I had built relationships over the past 3 years and realized just how much we taught each other. Medicine has given me the opportunity to experience the extremes of the emotional spectrum, from unimaginable suffering to unexpected joy in the simplest things, which I value dearly.
Following my own mission statement has been life-fulfilling, and I hope that you find and follow your own.
By Mary Ann Galagate, DO, MMS
Mary Ann Galagate (second from left) with other Christian medical missionaries at Hospital Diospi Suyana in Curahuasi, Peru, taken May 30, 2014 during a visit from Peru's president