Dorshey Jackson, MD, was no stranger to challenges on the way to residency. Despite numerous obstacles that could have derailed his medical-school dreams, nothing could keep him from becoming a doctor. That dream turned into a reality this summer as Jackson started his intern year at Eisenhower Family Medicine Residency Program.
Growing up in Compton, California, Jackson had less access to college-prep courses and tutoring and spent most of his pre-med journey advocating for himself. He successfully earned an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration, receiving academic honors along the way. A post-baccalaureate program with higher-level science and math courses and completing the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) later prepared him for the rigors of medical school and the first year of basic sciences.
Navigating Rough Waters
During his start at RUSM in 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica, where RUSM was previously located. “The challenges of continuing my medical education during this time really tested my perseverance and commitment to this journey.” He was tested again last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but he stayed steadfast in his determination, and it paid off in March when he matched into the Eisenhower Family Medicine Residency Program in Palm Springs, CA. “I felt like I had triumphed against the odds. I appreciated the emphasis on the holistic approach to medicine at Ross Med and I wanted to focus on this type of medicine during my residency training.” His career goal is to practice primary care medicine in a teaching facility in a hospital or clinic.
“During my very first core rotation in internal medicine, I often wondered how my patients ended up in their current condition and if there was a way to prevent their hospitalization,” Jackson explained. “In my final core rotation, family medicine, I was able to experience the primary and preventative care aspect. Working in a clinic in an underserved community, I realized that family medicine was the front-line fight. My rotation taught me that primary care is the cornerstone to preventing chronic disease and its complications.”
With the United States facing a shortage of up to 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more physicians like Jackson are needed.
The holistic approach to healthcare, variety of patient conditions and diversity in patient populations are what sold Jackson on a primary-care focus. “This approach allows me to treat patients — not just diseases — while improving quality of life for each patient. I realized preventing disease is the first step in healing patients and making an impact.”
To give back, Jackson offers advice for current and future Rossies: “Enjoy the present, embrace change and allow it to reveal what is meant for you. For students trying to match, make room for flexibility and always remember your ultimate goal is to be the best physician possible.” Jackson's medical school experience reinforced his confidence to deal with the type of obstacles he might face as a physician. “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity Ross Med provided to me. This journey was trying, and it tested my physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological and academic strength every day. I believe the challenges I faced will help me to be the phenomenal physician I hope to become.”