January 2016 White Coat Speaker's Interesting Path to Practice
On January 15, 2016, Emergency Medicine Physician Jason Lester, MD, (RUSM ‘06) will be the guest speaker at the RUSM White Coat Ceremony for new students on the Dominica campus.
He took a somewhat circuitous route to becoming a physician. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Riverside, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. But then he went on to work for two years as a manager in engineering design and a project manager at SBC/Pacific Bell before enrolling in Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). After graduation from RUSM, Dr. Lester completed his residency in emergency medicine at St. Vincent’s Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio.
Currently he is the attending physician, Department of Emergency Medicine and assistant medical director, Department of Emergency Medicine at Mercy St. Charles Hospital in Oregon, Ohio. He is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners.
Dr. Lester recently spoke about his journey to becoming a physician. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:
Q: When did you decide to pursue a career in emergency medicine, and why?
A: I knew I wanted a career in medicine that had a bit more energy and excitement, along with a chance to use some of my mechanical skills, so I gravitated towards orthopedics and EM. After doing some rotations and looking at lifestyles of the two, I felt EM was the best choice and have not turned back since. I love the constant change and never knowing what is next, coupled with getting to go home and really not having to take my work home with me. It gives me good work/life separation.
Q: You began another career before enrolling in medical school. What made you switch?
A: I have always wanted to be a physician, but unfortunately was not accepted the first time around. I was the first person to go to college from my family and my guidance was poor. I took a stepping-stone job as an engineer and did have some great life experiences during that time. However I was not happy with that career style and went back to my first passion.
Q: Tell me more about being a competitive watercraft racer. How exciting!
A: I love all watersports, but when I was 12 I fell in love with jet skiing. When I turned 14, I joined the local race circuit and over the years developed many friendships and sponsors and was racing on the professional level the last three years before heading to RUSM. Those years were very memorable; we had a race team of five, we all traveled together and we were all like family, and had about a dozen sponsors! My teammate was national champion. In my last year of full competition I was Western Regional Champion (the western part of the US) and ranked number 9 in the world in my class. Every year I think of getting back into it, and this year may be the year
Q: What made you choose RUSM?
A: When I made the decision to leave the engineering field and go back to attempt medical school, I looked at both US allopathic and osteopathic schools, and then at Caribbean schools. US allopathic is always tough, and I was not feeling the osteopathic side. I felt RUSM was the most “US-like.” I have zero regrets about my choice and see tons of RUSM students rotate and succeed with the programs I work at and have worked at.
Q: What was your experience like in Dominica? Have you been back to the island since you completed your studies? If so, what are your impressions of the changes?
A: My experience was amazing. Being the adventurous type I enjoyed all the aspects the island had to offer, from the waterfalls, to hiking and I even got my scuba certification. I have been back to the island since finishing 4th semester three times and being invited to be the White Coat speaker will be the fourth time. I have enjoyed seeing the evolution and advancement of the local area. I was very excited to see how advanced the Emergency Center had become, and was truly impressed. RUSM has done and will continue to do an amazing job.