CELEBRATING ALUMNI SUCCESS
Personal tragedy inspires Jefferson Ganthier, MD, to do whatever it takes
His fierce determination to succeed resulted in a medical degree and a role as Chief Resident at Aventura Hospital in Aventura, Florida, for the 2021-2022 year. Looking back, Dr. Ganthier credits his desire to pursue a medical career to a series of personal tragedies.
“While I was in high school, my mother died of colon cancer,” says Dr. Ganthier. “Soon, my father passed away, too. There wasn’t much time to grieve. I was on my own and knew I had to survive.” He wondered if his goal of higher education might ever come to pass. Facing difficult odds, he decided to push on towards completion of a high school degree, with distant hopes of somehow getting to college.
Interest in patient care provided the inspiration
Determined to obtain an education despite the lack of resources, he quit high school to work two jobs, then earned a high school diploma through a GED. When he finally began an undergraduate degree at Miami Dade College as a business major, a friend asked him if he had thought about pursuing nursing. “Thinking about my parents, I wanted to learn to provide medical care to patients more than anything else. I’d love to go to med school, but I can’t afford it,” says Dr. Ganthier. “I decided to go to nursing school, and at the same time, worked full-time while earning a double major in nursing and biochemistry. It was at school that I met a doctor who had attended Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). I was impressed with the level of care she provided to patients. I realized I loved medicine more than I thought and decided medical school was in my future.”
When evaluating medical schools, RUSM’s flexible start dates appealed to Dr. Ganthier. “I felt like time was of the essence and I didn’t want to wait. Ross gave me the option to start early. The stellar reputation of the school attracted me, along with its competitive first-time residency rates. It was one of the best choices I ever made.”
Once in medical school, Dr. Ganthier aimed to be a hospitalist and aspired to lead a team. “I knew I wanted to interact with patients, talk to families, and have direct involvement in the care of patients.” This desire provided the academic motivation to make the Dean’s List every semester and be selected as Intern of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year.
Now a third-year resident in Internal Medicine, Dr. Ganthier feels the support and camaraderie he received from fellow students and instructors helped him reach the status of Chief Resident. “The support at RUSM is what makes the school unique. It’s like an extension of your family,” explains Dr. Ganthier. “There’s an open-door policy—you can walk into a professor’s office without an appointment and feel they are there for you. The resources available to students make RUSM a wonderful experience. It was everything I needed to succeed in medical school.”
Training prepared him to lead, but attitude was equally important
Dr. Ganthier attributes his success to the medical training he received at RUSM. Even with the right training, he explains that commitment is essential to reach your goals. “Commitment to your studies, to advising staff, and to patient care. The training I received at RUSM taught me how to provide quality care and my peers recognized that,” says Dr. Ganthier. “Like me, you may have barriers to overcome, but if you’re not disciplined you won’t make it. You need to have a burning desire to do whatever it takes to succeed and that’s what will get you through medical school and residency.”
Dr. Ganthier demonstrated his commitment to patient care by returning to Haiti to offer medical care during the catastrophic earthquake of 2010. “I wanted to help the Haitian people in any way I could. Now, I want to assist those in need of medical care in the community that I currently serve—but also focus on assisting global communities.” As a result, Dr. Ganthier is currently working with other doctors to develop a medical organization that plans to perform medical outreach in Haiti and Central America.
What opportunities does he want to pursue after residency? “I’m passionate about teaching medicine,” says Dr. Ganthier. “I want to ‘pay it forward’ by training others committed to patient care.”
Photo: Dr. Jefferson Ganthier receives Dean's List award from Dr. Stanley White, RUSM Senior Associate Dean.