Dr. John Thurman
I can do this
“It was a challenge from the start.. there are really high expectations for maintaining your classwork, doing well, and performing. I had some setbacks, and I think those setbacks helped me get to where I am today. I believe that experiencing failure helps in being brought to a level where you need to truly discover what your style of learning is. You learn a lot of self-discipline techniques. For me, it wasn’t something that came right away.”
A network of support, staying the course
“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 5 years old. Many great mentors, from my pastor to my mom’s colleague and beyond, have supported me in staying the course and getting to A.T. Still University. Through them, I learned to discipline myself and develop time management skills. Building your network is important, along with sharing what you learn with others, and never forgetting where you came from.”
Overcoming obstacles, gaining life experiences
“I’ve faced obstacles, like every student, but it’s about confronting your fears and working harder. It’s not just about the medical knowledge you gain but also the life experiences you have that help you become a better doctor. At A.T. Still University, I always look at how to improve patient communication and be the light for each patient. Volunteering early and often helps you gain perspective.”
The impact of cultural diversity, the decision to attend
“Meeting alumni from A.T. Still University pretty much molded my decision to attend. It is a good experience meeting people from other cultures. Prior to getting to ATSU, one huge challenge I had to overcome was meeting medical professionals who looked like me. I made the extra effort to reach out to physicians of color to pick their brain. Now, I want to share with others what I’ve learned.”
Stepping ahead, giving back
“If you see something wrong, do something to try to make it better. There were a lot of underserved people in my area growing up, but not a lot of people who made it anywhere. I want to give back to that community so more can make it, and in this way I hope to be the light for others. A.T. Still University is a step ahead in clinical skills development, which will help me be that much more prepared.”
Finding the open door, remembering the goal
“Growing up, I didn’t have teacher or physician mentors who looked like me, and it was tough. But I always try to put myself in positions to move on and find the open door. It’s important to find what interests you and just go all in for it. Distractions occur all the time but remember what you’re seeking and strive for your goal. A.T. Still University’s support can help you get there.”
Witnessing the impact, making the choice
“I chose A.T. Still University due to the mentorship I received during a gap year. Shadowing a physician gave me the opportunity to witness how she was affecting patients’ lives with osteopathic manipulative medicine. My advice is don’t doubt yourself and don’t let others tell you can’t do what you want to do. If you have the will, there is a way. You can’t do it all alone, and mentors can help.”
A goal to improve access, a scholarship to get there
“Born in Nigeria, I realize how important access to healthcare is. I received the Graduate Professional Scholarship Program that supports DOs practicing in rural areas and addressing health disparity. It was when I began volunteering and shadowing a DO that I realized I wanted to pursue being a doctor at A.T. Still University. I wanted to be in an institution where I could thrive.”
Championing diversity with a passion to serve
“I came to Kirksville from a large, underserved, underrepresented population in Nigeria. After volunteering in undergrad, I realized being a DO at ATSU was where I wanted to be. I’m very passionate about serving the community and enlightening people about different cultures. ATSU was where I could grow my passion and help to raise diversity awareness at school and in the community.”
Fulfilling a destiny, accepting the challenge
“As an athletic training intern in undergrad, I did my research on being a DO vs MD and realized there is a direct correlation between my personal values and the tenets of osteopathic medicine. Now that I am at ATSU-KCOM, I’m in the right place, even though it’s a challenging curriculum. Yes, you will be challenged, but it’s natural and everyone learns how to excel. If I can make it, you can too.”
Charting a course to med school, and back
“I knew what I wanted to do, but getting there for me involved seeking out the right people like my health professions advisor, and joining the military. Now I’m at ATSU-SOMA, and a member of the Graduate Health Professions Scholarship Program. I have a heart for the underserved because I came from an underserved community and want to return to one – as a doctor.”
From the basketball court to medicine
“I have always wanted to play basketball and be a doctor. It proved valuable to pursue both. Getting to ATSU-SOMA was a combination of experiences on and off the court that introduced me to hard work, teamwork, and community service that today are preparing me well, along with the unique 1 +3 education model that places students in the clinical setting much earlier.”
From Kenya to ATSU in a quest to ease suffering
“After moving from Kenya to Atlanta, I went the non-traditional route from business major to med school. Improving access It was seeing people suffer and wanting to help that motivated me. Googling the best schools, A.T. Still University came up. I wanted to go to the best school, so I started volunteering, shadowing a doctor, and working hard to get there.”
A Different Path, An Enriching Experience
“You have a goal for your path to be a straight line, but I had to take two or three steps backward to take four or five steps forward. It is about the journey, and I grew as a person along the way with the help of my mentors and diverse class in Kirksville (ATSU-KCOM), where I got to know and learn from everyone. It was a very enriching experience.”
Finding Support that Opened New Doors
"Before I got to ATSU, I ended up being in several programs that were not very conducive for me to finish. One of the things that I found different about ATSU was that it was an environment where I didn’t have to feel threatened as a person of color. The professors were nurturing and the College (ATSU-CGHS) was supportive and not competitive. My doctorate has opened doors for me in ways I never expected."
Part 1/2 - Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Mentors
"Balancing sports and academics throughout school was a challenge. It took dedication, focus, and networking to get there. Mentors are key and I met several – both physician and academic – who exposed me to different opportunities. I loved being in Kirksville (at KCOM) and interacting with the community there, which gave me the experiences that have influenced my career today"
Part 2/2 - Building portfolios, networking, and access
"I knew I wanted to be a physician at a young age and that there were many obstacles to getting there. When one door shut on me, I’d open up another one. Because KCOM looks at the whole person, I heeded some great advice from ATSU mentors to diversify my portfolio, get those experiences, and meet people. You never know where one handshake will lead. It takes courage, but you can do it."
Part 1/2 - Giving Back, Service to Diverse Communities
"It’s pretty amazing to give back to my community and treat people of my culture, my heritage. I had completed community service in high school and college, which aligned with ATSU’s mission of service and was one of the admission requirements. It’s not only rewarding but also builds that mindset so when you ultimately become a professional, and leader, you can naturally continue along that path."
Part 2/2 - Diversity, Mentorship, and Overcoming Challenges
"There were a lot of challenges I had to overcome to even think about being a dentist someday. At first, I felt very alone going through this process, and didn’t have any professionals in my family to talk to and ask: How do I get through this? Fortunately I was able to meet a lot of great mentors. One in particular told me ‘I think you can do it, I believe in you.’ Sometimes, that’s all you need."
Healthcare and Diverse Communities
"It’s not easy to become a doctor, but with support from my family and ATSU, I found my way, and on the tough days I can see the end goal. Now, I want to be a leader in healthcare delivery and would like to branch out and maybe go international to help those in need. If you’re from a diverse community and have a strong passion for a medical career, it takes drive, but you can do it."
Caring for Others in Diverse Communities
"In Indonesia, girls go to undergrad and then stop usually – the norm. I found the support I needed to go further, and get to ATSU. I was accepted to three other medical schools but chose ATSU because of the support of the staff and students I received early on. We’re a tight-knit community that’s surprisingly diverse and welcoming. You can get here too."