Many students will cite a defining moment that made them decide to pursue a career in medicine. For OMS III Brandon Foreman, there was not one single moment; instead, there were a multitude of moments that came together to push him toward the decision to be a doctor.
“I started as a business school graduate working in the finance sector and eventually selling waterline and fire hydrants,” Foreman said. “Along the way, I started volunteering in the local emergency room as a way to give back to my community. I found there was a new purpose in my life through living a life of service to those in need and those who are far from health. Many experiences later, I still carry with me the essence of those experiences, which I bring to every patient I see. I feel eternally thankful that I can utilize my osteopathic medical education to the benefit of those around me, and share with them principles that set them on a journey towards wellness, hope, and healing.”
Foreman is a student in the Transformative Care Continuum program, an accelerated curriculum developed in partnership with Cleveland Clinic. TCC students spend three years in medical school while working with health care teams across the patient care continuum. Foreman was already talking to patients about their pain and personal experiences on his first day of medical school.
“We are taught not only clinical skills essential to family medicine, but also critical skills related to understanding a person’s social determinants of health and the massive impact that can have on a person’s well-being,” Foreman said. That was the case with an older woman he met while in clinic during his first year. Her financial hardships were contributing to her health problems.
“She was tired, frail, and not improving medically despite medications,” said Foreman. The patient eventually told him that she didn’t have enough money for her medications, that she had a sister who financially depended on her, and their diet consisted of hot dogs and chips, the only food she could afford.
“Her story was incredibly moving for me and helped focus my desire to find and address food insecurity in our community. We now screen every patient for food insecurity at our clinic and provide resources to everyone who needs them,” said Foreman. “I hope to continue to impact lives by carrying with me the experiences of the patients of the past.”
Students in the TCC program have opportunities to develop quality improvement projects like this because they work directly with patients within a health system. Foreman said the skills the students are building through the program will help them better serve their patients and are critical professionally as health care continues to evolve. “
“These people are not gallbladders and have diabetes, they are the local postal worker, or the teacher at the local elementary school. They have a story, and it is our role as osteopathic physicians to help lengthen the story and fill it with compassion and care,” said Foreman, who is married and a father of two.
For those who want to pursue a career in medicine, but do not know where to start, Foreman has a word of advice.
“The first thing you must do is to believe in yourself. Find an academic advisor or program director that shares and supports your vision for your future. The best advice I would give to anyone looking into medicine as a career is to look at the people around and determine whether you feel called to serve your community in that way, because the reason we do all that we do is not for titles, achievements, or distinctions. We do what we do to bring light to the dark and hope to the distraught and if you can remember the ‘why’ it will help you to pull through the long nights and rough days,” said Foreman. "Above all remember it is a privilege and gift to serve in the way we do.”