Ministry of Medicine’
Graduating U.Va. Medical Student Brings His Relationship With God
Into Everything, Including His Career
May 7, 2004 --
For Joe Jackson, medicine is a calling.
has directed me in my activities,” he said.
he was a kid, he knew he would be a doctor. On May 16, he
earn his M.D. at the University of
Virginia and enter his “ministry of medicine.”
learned through a process, through my relationship with God,
that my life has a purpose,” he said.
purpose is to practice medicine with compassion. Jackson
aims to treat the whole person: medically, emotionally,
were times, however, when medical school seemed disconnected
from the patient, when the
emphasis was on textbooks and competencies and medical
not on the patient as a human being.
his interactions with his patients always reminded him of
why he went into medicine.
learned that I can apply my passions for science and people
to meeting the needs of my patients,” he said.
has chosen to become a pediatrician. He loves children
and has worked as an actor at a theme park, as a substitute
with children through the youth ministry at his church.
Jackson has been involved with both his church in
and his current church, Transformation Ministries First Baptist
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.”
patient is unique,” he said. “I make sure to
know each of my patients by name.”
his third- and fourth-year clinical rotations, he made a
point of knowing
his patients, no matter how tired or busy
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.”
Medical School recently recognized this compassion by awarding
him its annual Humanism in Medicine Award.
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.”
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
the tools of technology taken for granted in the
United States are not routinely available to the
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.”
June, Jackson moves to Durham, N.C., to begin a three-year
residency in pediatrics at Duke
“Through the grace of God, I’m where I am now,” he said.
No doubt Dr. Jackson will share this grace with his patients.
Fariss Samarrai, (434) 924-3778