Spencer lives in Oregon and attends the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM). He is a second-year medical student and is the recipient of the E.L. ‘Doc’ Burnham “Wonderful World” Scholarship Award.
Spencer’s first experience with the osteopathic philosophy of mind-body-spirit came when he was a senior in high school. A family member had been diagnosed with cancer, and was undergoing chemotherapy. He watched his family member succumb to the side effects of the chemo and radiation and felt helpless to find a solution. His family eventually came up with a restorative plan that included eating more fresh foods together at the dinner table, prayer and practicing mindfulness together, and talking more about a grandfather who was experiencing Alzheimer’s disease, a stressor for the entire family.
Spencer writes, “The lesson I learned through this experience is not only a core tenet of osteopathy, but a truth that I carry with me everywhere from simulated exam rooms to my local farmer’s market. Our vitality is inextricably and interdependently linked to how we take care of our bodies, how we think and feel about ourselves and our lives, how we nurture the intangible spirit that resides within each of us, and I would add, how we relate to and are supported by our community”.
Rodney Bates DO, FACOI and Primary Care Chair/Assistant Professor Internal Medicine at ICOM, used the words “highly professional character, honest, open and true to his classmates, compassionate attitude, a natural leader, and reveals great care for other’s welfare and individual growth” to describe Spencer. “Spencer is also greatly admired for his talents. He is a gifted drummer in an aspiring local band and he shares his talents openly without seeking accolades. He is always kind and willing to give of his time and efforts to help others enjoy what life has to offer. His band is very engaged in serving their local community and bringing joy to others. I have witnessed the care and concerns Spencer has for others through this service and his humble nature of offering more of himself than just his plans for a career in medicine. He is a very well-rounded and yet polished individual who does not stop developing despite his great individual successes”.
Spencer told the Foundation, “I have learned a lot of lessons in community service over the past several years. I have served as SGA Chair of Community Outreach at NNU and ICOM (Currently). My wife and I started and currently run a community garden just blocks from our home and have engaged in a variety of other service projects and volunteer efforts in our area. I have had many successes and an equal number of failures, but my biggest takeaway from these experiences has been this: Know your community, learn from your community, and empower your community. I hope to embody those ideas in the way that I serve outside of my future practice”.
Your words are so true, Spencer, and the Foundation looks forward to watching what you do with your life moving forward. Congratulations and job well done.