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For Some of Us, Medicine is Still a Sacred Calling


We were called out. From the darkness, we came. Like a deer in the black morning, we arose at that witching hour before the sun obliterates the fog to begin our walk on that narrow path. To college. To medical school. And now here we are.

We are the first generation. The “doctor in the family” that our grandparents dreamed of. We are scrappy. Determined. To become a physician, for us, is not an entitlement. We do not come from a long line of physicians. The day we were accepted to medical school was not another Wednesday; it was the best day of our lives.

Amongst my pedigreed colleagues, I wonder: How many of them saw medical school as another predictable chapter of their lives? How many had no second thoughts about their paths to medicine? From birth, did their parents both proclaim, “Yes! This one will be a radiologist!”

But now, we are here. And we are coming for their medical school seats. We are coming for their match day spots. We are coming to take this profession back — to care for our patients and to be with them. We are the ones who see our profession as a privilege and our poor upbringing as a reminder. We are the outsiders.

Our patients will never know that; our colleagues with the silver spoons in their white coats must never know that. They will call us ”Doctor.” And we will smile back at them. And we will be there earlier in the morning and later in the evening.

For some of us, medicine is still a sacred calling.

James Dustin Denham James Dustin Denham (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine


James D. Denham is a native of Dadeville, Alabama but is currently a 3rd year medical student at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida. He received both his B.S. in microbiology and his M.S. in Biological Science from Auburn University.