May 14, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 9
Back Issues
‘Our Students Lead Us’
Sullivan Award-winners
Part of the fabric of University life
Curiosity drives Mitman’s pursuits
‘Reverend Nurse:’
At 52, Valley minister feels call to care for the whole person, spiritually and physically
Leap of a lifetime:
Athlete Kim Turko jumps a formidable hurdle — life-threatening illness
He’ll be back:
Adult education graduate studies adult education
‘Hungry to Help:’
Student refugee wants to improve the lives of Burma’s forgotten children
Revitalizing Main Street:
Jill Nolt’s plan for her hometown high school makes front-page news
Peace Corps bound:
Business major trades fast lane for slow pace on Tonga
First in her family:
Angela Caldwell, a Native American, overcomes community attitudes to become lawyer
From Crane’s love of the cosmos comes new era for stargazers
A history of Finals
Sharlotte Bolyard is flying high
A ministry of medicine

Bombay bound:
Darden grad to apply best U.S. business practices to family company in India

Peer educator looks beyond educating:
Health advocacy is next step for Alyssa Lederer

No ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions:
Family expert Charmaine Yoest says creativity, flexibility are keys to resolving work/family issues

Reflections on the road to enlightenment:
Thirteen years, one class at a time, but who was counting?

‘Connecting communities:’
Presentation on African-American history at U.Va. gets students thinking, talking
A ministry of medicine
Joe Jackson
Photo by Tom Cogill
Whether practicing medicine or playing the piano, the soon-to-be physician — Joseph Jackson Jr. — brings God into everything he does.

By Fariss Samarrai

For Joe Jackson, medicine is a calling.

“God has directed me in my activities,” he said.

Since he was a kid, he knew he would be a doctor. On May 16, he will earn his M.D. and enter his “ministry of medicine.”

“I’ve learned through a process, through my relationship with God, that my life has a purpose,” he said.

That purpose is to practice medicine with compassion. Jackson aims to treat the whole person: medically, emotionally, spiritually.

There were times, however, when medical school seemed disconnected from the patient, when the emphasis was on textbooks and competencies and medical problems, and not on the patient as a human being.

But his interactions with his patients always reminded him of why he went into medicine.

“I learned that I can apply my passions for science and people to meeting the needs of my patients,” he said.

Jackson has chosen to become a pediatrician. He loves children and has worked as an actor at a theme park, as a substitute teacher, a Big Sibling, and with children through the youth ministry at his church.

Jackson has been involved with both his church in Pennsylvania and his current church, Transformation Ministries First Baptist Church of Charlottesville. He’s spent eight years in Charlottesville, first as an undergraduate chemistry major, and then as a medical student.

“I bring my relationship with God into everything I do,” he said.

Working with children, and the parents who love them, is an “awesome challenge and responsibility,” he said. “I know I will be fulfilling my purpose.”

“Every patient is unique,” he said. “I make sure to know each of my patients by name.”

During his third- and fourth-year clinical rotations, he made a point of knowing his patients, no matter how tired or busy he was.

“At the end of a shift, I always seek out one patient to visit, just to say I’m here and I care,” Jackson said. “Patients can count on me to be involved. I let them know I’m willing to talk and willing to listen.”

The Medical School recently recognized this compassion by awarding him its annual Humanism in Medicine Award.

“This is an honor and a privilege,” he said. “It acknowledges that caring about the patient as a person is as important as the other competencies.”

One of Jackson’s goals is to open a medical clinic in Jamaica, the home of his parents. Part of his calling, he said, is “to meet the needs of people in impoverished nations.” This spring he received a scholarship to study and provide health care in Jamaica for a month. There he found that the tools of technology taken for granted in the United States are not routinely available to the impoverished.

“I learned to make a diagnosis of pneumonia without the benefit of chest X-rays,” he said. “In the absence of technology, interaction with the patient is vital.”

In June, Jackson moves to Durham, N.C., to begin a three-year residency in pediatrics at Duke University.

“Through the grace of God, I’m where I am now,” he said.

No doubt Dr. Jackson will share this grace with his patients.


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