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10-09-2012


UCPA student experiences medicine differently through medical missions

 


WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — The first University of the Cumberlands (UC) Physician Assistant (PA) graduating class of 2012 is made up of an exceptional group of individuals who have dedicated their lives to medical service. It is no surprise that one of them recently found a way to employ his new degree in a higher calling.

This past summer, Jared Nix went to Christiana, Jamaica with Dr. Mike Collins from Bowling Green, Ky., a doctor who visits Jamaica and Africa multiple times a year to do medical missions work. In Christiana, Jared worked at an orphanage clinic, made house calls in rural areas to people who were unable to travel into town, and worked in a clinic in a local church basement.

“We saw patients for nearly 14 hours that day,” says Jared of the makeshift church clinic. “It was open and free to any who would come.”

Jared’s experience in Jamaica transformed his ideas of practicing medicine.

“It changed my way of thinking of patients, because in Jamaica I was able to see what a great need they had for basic medical care. Some patients were very ill with chronic illness but others just needed someone to take their blood pressure, listen to their heart and tell them everything sounded okay. I saw others that were older and were showing the signs of a long life in the sun, farming or working in industry. They were in chronic pain and believed that Tylenol was a miracle drug. They would wait all day in the sun to be seen. At times we would provide them little peanut butter sandwiches because they had been waiting so long. Young and old.”

Jared Nix currently works in Lexington, Ky. at Neurosurgical Associates, a group within Central Baptist Hospital, but plans to return to Jamaica within the next year to do more medical work. It is certain, however, that it won’t be the last time.

“It allowed me to see how much need there is in the world, both abroad and at home,” says Jared. “We are at our best as people when we use what we are given to help others.”

Nix was born in Spartanburg, SC and spent much of his life in McKee, Ky., where his mother and grandparents reside. He is the son of Mark Nix and Sherry Brockman.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky.,University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; twelve graduate degrees, including two doctorate, two specialist and eight master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.