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Class of 2024 Graduate Profile: Jackson Mittlesteadt

March 28, 2024
HCOM graduate Jackson MIttlesteadt

Jackson Mittlesteadt, who is graduating with the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's Class of 2024, was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He grew up in the Westerville and Blacklick areas and attended St. Matthew School before going to high school at St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley. He is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame and obtained a dual degree in biological sciences and English. During his senior year, he wrote an honors English thesis on the poetry of Walt Whitman, titled “Seeds of Grass.” 

Science, and by extension medicine, is his first passion, but he says, writing and literature will always be equally important to him.

What was your childhood like? Who were your inspirations? Was there anything critical that happened that brought you to this point in life?

I grew up with supportive parents who encouraged me to pursue what I was passionate about. They supported me when I expressed a desire to take piano lessons and eventually vocal lessons at a young age. They supported my voracious appetite for books, particularly of the science fiction and historical fiction varieties. They supported me when in fourth grade I told them that someday I wanted to go to Notre Dame. They supported me when I told them I wanted to become a doctor. They instilled in me core values, including: respect for others and myself, treating everyone as I would want them to treat me and a love for God and family. Without them, I would not be the man I am today. 

What led you to medical school?

I was drawn to medicine when in undergrad, I realized that I loved science, but I also loved interacting with people. I worked as a research intern in child neurology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital during my undergraduate, and this further convinced me that a career in medicine was the right choice for me. Growing up, I had several role models in medicine that I look back on now as sources of inspiration for me as I enter residency, and I find myself both consciously, and at times unconsciously, emulating their bedside manner and care for patients that I had only begun to appreciate as a patient. Most notably, the late Dr. Juan Sotos, a pediatric endocrinologist, made an impression on me that I will carry with me into my time as a resident. 

What was the most impactful experience you had while in medical school?

It is hard to choose just one experience that stands out from the rest, as medical school has been an incredible experience. An experience that sticks out to me is a time when I helped lead a goals of care discussion with a family regarding the care of their loved one. This experience, while initially intimidating, was a positive experience, and one that allowed me to connect with the family, discuss goals and medical decisions that needed to be determined, as well as to just sit with them, appreciating their perspectives. It helped me realize how medicine is as much of an art as it is a science. 

What was the most important lesson you learned while in medical school?

Listen. Listening is paramount. The patient more often than not reveals the diagnosis just in what they say. But more than just narrowing the differential diagnosis, listening allows for a partnership to be formed between patient and provider. Listening, of course, may not be possible based on the circumstance, but it extends to the patients’ loved ones as well. It helps establish that you value their input, are engaged in their care and are making a decision as a unit. 

Were you involved in research? If so, could you share more about what you worked on?

I was involved in clinical research during medical school. I worked on a few different projects at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the field of child neurology. The projects I worked on ranged from quality improvement initiatives with reducing epilepsy medication administration time in status epilepticus, as well as a study that attempted to see if a smartwatch could accurately predict generalized seizures. I look forward to becoming more involved with research during residency! 

What are you most excited about for your future?

I am excited to begin residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Child Neurology. It is an incredible, growing field, and I look forward to making an impact on it. I am excited to build connections with peers and mentors alike, always focusing on my primary mission to help those in need. To be at an institution for residency that is at the forefront of pediatric research and innovation is humbling, and I am excited to learn and contribute in turn. 

Who has helped you along the way? Is there anyone you want to recognize?

My parents deserve acknowledgement for supporting me in my dream of becoming a doctor. My mentor, Dr. Anup Patel, deserves acclaim, as without him, I would have not been exposed to child neurology during my undergraduate years. It was because of him that I started to work in clinical research and was exposed to the clinical side of child neurology as well. Dr. Jorge Vidaurre is a role model for me in the field of child neurology, and his expertise in EEG is a skill I hope to obtain someday as well and teach the next generation of child neurologists. 

How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend my free time staying active, going on walks with friends and exercising. I play piano and sing as well, and occasionally write poetry! 

What didn’t I ask that you’d like to share?

I wanted to share that being a (soon to be) Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is truly an honor. Growing up, my family only saw D.O.s, just by chance. But we soon realized the value in seeing an osteopathic physician. They truly embody holistic medicine, appreciating the circumstances, in addition to various body systems and inputs, that contribute to a patient’s chief complaint. I am honored to be joining the ranks of those osteopathic physicians that have come before, and hope to further osteopathy’s legacy.