Providers of the future

By By Celeste Chaney

By Celeste Chaney

U medical students received advice from a nationally recognized mentor Wednesday when acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu spoke at the downtown Marriott Hotel.

Second-year medical student Sylvia Jaramillo said she was impressed that he came to talk to the group of students. “He’s a role model for us. I think it is amazing that he took the time out of his schedule to come to talk to us,” she said.

While serving as the legislative representative for the Utah Chapter of the American Medical Student Association, second-year med student Robin Ninefeldt recently had the opportunity to meet Moritsugu in Washington, D.C., and asked him to talk to medical students while in Salt Lake City.

“(I) learned that he would be visiting Salt Lake City this week to speak at a conference hosted by IHC,” Ninefeldt said. “I was thrilled when, upon my request, Moritsugu was gracious enough to agree to speak with medical students during his time here.”

Moritsugu served as the opening session speaker at the Eighth Annual IHC Healthy Communities Conference on Wednesday morning and then spoke to U medical students, too.

Moritsugu addressed the future of medicine by telling students, “We need to focus on tomorrow. You are the leaders and providers of tomorrow.”

He said medicine is both a passion and a service, and that while there are many privileges awarded to those who work in medicine, there are also great responsibilities to help the community.

Moritsugu told students that, as professionals, they should do “anything (they) can do to better inform the people (they) serve.”

Third-year medical students Nate Kofford and Lisa Ryujin said Moritsugu was very intuitive. “He provided insight to where medicine is going,” Kofford said.

Moritsugu also addressed the importance of “harnessing information and technology” and making health care more accessible and cost-effective.

“By providing improved access to health (care), we can improve the overall health of our nation,” he said.

He said that the role of medical professionals is “to dignify the lives of those whom (they) serve by safeguarding and improving their health.”

Ninefeldt was grateful for the time Moritsugu devoted to the students. “He is inspiring on so many levels, and it (was) quite a treat to hear from him. His words help to remind many of us why we chose to devote ourselves to medicine in the first place-it’s about service.”

Mike Terry

Medical student Dan Buck listens to U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu as he addresses the U medical school on Wednesday.

Mike Terry

U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu addresses the U medical school at the downtown Marriott Hotel on Wednesday.