From the Farm to Pharm: Jaret Shook, OMS-I's Path to HCOM
Part time farmhand, part time pharmacist and now full time student, Jaret Shook, OMS-I has had an atypical route to continuing his education at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Working on the family’s farm has been a staple for the Shooks for several generations and many of Jaret’s earliest memories stem from the fields. Riding in the combine with his dad, doing chores around the farm with his brother and showing feeder calves at his local fair were all integral moments that built his character.
Members of the Shook family, including Jaret, combine their talents to keep the farm alive. His uncle is a grain purchaser for Kraft-Nabisco, his father is a business owner and his mother is a certified public accountant.
“Just as I have strived to do my best in my studies, I will continue to strive to successfully grow our farm and ensure its prosperity,” said Shook. “I take great pride in knowing that so many aspects of my life will be to serve others whether that be through medicine or as a farmer providing food and agricultural commodities to countless individuals.”
Shook has already earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree through Ohio Northern University. Though it proved to be fulfilling for Shook, he felt like there was something missing. After some exploration, he found that missing piece: a holistic approach.
“While the science of pharmacy provides one with the incredible capability to impact a patient’s life, the focus is obviously on pharmacotherapy,” said Shook. “Given that general osteopathic medicine places a much greater emphasis on holistic medicine, I naturally found myself drawn to osteopathic medicine over allopathic alternatives.”
The Raabe College of Pharmacy at Ohio Northern University influenced several aspects of Shook’s life, not the least of which being his fascination with the study of pharmaceuticals.
“I take deep interest in learning how drugs interact within the body and alter physiology. When I was first exposed to pharmacy, I enjoyed the idea of being able to work in a variety of settings within health care, as pharmacists frequently have roles in ambulatory, community and institutional settings,” said Shook. “Pharmacists are also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interact with patients.”
Shook has a number of influential figures that have guided him to where he is now, including his mentor, Thomas Hutson, D.O., a 1997 graduate of the Heritage College. They met through an alumni-active mentorship program through Shook’s undergraduate fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. Shook was feeling a bit lost as he worked in his fourth year of pharmaceutical school, and Hutson, who graduated from ONU’s pharmacy program in the 1990’s, offered some clarity.
“In all honesty, at that point I don’t think I had actually ever spoken to another medical student, or even another pre-medical student, so I was going about it alone,” said Shook, who ended up taking a similar path to medical school as his mentor. Hutson, now a director of genitourinary oncology for Texas Oncology, helped give him the motivation to succeed because their paths are similar, which Shook said, “allows me to realize my path is possible and my dreams can be made a reality.”
Now, Shook anticipates the opportunity to learn at the same medical school his mentor attended.
“I believe that HCOM, among the other influential entities in Hutson’s life, is what allowed him to do just that and become the best clinician he could be. As I look forward to the future now, I am optimistic that this same mindset and the endless opportunities for growth that HCOM will continue to provide me will allow me to become the best physician I can be.”