Why did you choose UNC (Chapel Hill) School of Medicine for medical school?  

After working at the Duke University Medical Center for a year, I was able to transfer my studies over to UNC-Chapel Hill and receive in-state tuition. It was a great school with a great price!


Why did you choose Pediatrics Children’s Hospital Colorado for residency? 

While at Chapel Hill, I met my wife, Lindsay, who was also in medical school. We both wanted to attend a large enough residency program with strong international exposure and opportunities, and Denver was a perfect match.


Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?

In some regards, I pursued medicine because it was what I knew. My father and his brother were practicing physicians, as was my paternal grandfather. My two older sisters (as well as their spouses) are also physicians. The roadmap for medicine was laid out before me. For a long time, I thought about pursuing both a degree in seminary and medical school but ended up in medicine after a few choices along the way nudged me in that direction.


What about becoming a physician was attractive?

I believe that service and sacrifice are important. I am incredibly blessed, and I want to share that with those around me. This is a personal calling, but also something that I want to tangibly show my children. Medicine opens doorways to unique and intimate experiences that might not otherwise be available. Some of the most challenging experiences encountered in the medical field – telling a family that their child has a life-long illness, or grieving with a family who has lost their child – although painful and upsetting, provide an opportunity to share hope and encouragement in the midst of despair.


How did you choose Pediatric Emergency Medicine as your specialty?

I love the fast-paced nature of PEM. For a long time, I thought I would pursue a career in pediatric endocrinology – I am a type 1 diabetic. However, I quickly realized I thrive in fast-paced and highly charged scenarios.


What do you enjoy most about your day to day practice?

I love the variability and the fast-paced nature of the Peds ED and there is a never a dull moment. Sometimes, it is easy to get bogged down in the volume, but when you come across that one patient or family where you realize you helped to make a difference, it makes the job undoubtedly satisfying.


What led you to practice with MEMA?

I wanted to work with a vibrant group of individuals who were like-minded, supportive of one another and worked to provide excellent care. The Peds Division at MEMA fit the bill to a tee, and I have never looked back!


Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you during your MEMA tenure?

I cannot forget one family who arrived by ambulance… a mother and her two sons, one about 6, the other close to 9 after a minor motor vehicle crash. The paramedic pulled me aside to fill me in, explaining that they were homeless, and although living in their car for almost the past year, the mom had managed to get her sons to school every day. Now, their car, their home, their lifeline, was stuck at the bottom of a ditch. I cared for the minor injuries the boys had and tried my hardest to compassionately offer the family whatever I had access to. The mother’s strength and resolve will always stay imprinted on my mind and I hope and pray that they are doing well today and still attending school daily.


Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?

I am a member of the Charlotte Pediatric Society, Christian Medical & Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics (and AAP Section on Emergency Medicine), and American College of Emergency Physicians.


Have you received any awards or been recognized from your peers?

In 2017, during my fellowship, I was honored with the “Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award” in recognition of leadership and outstanding accomplishment in the care of the underserved as manifested by volunteerism and public service.


Tell us about your time in West Africa with Samaritan’s Purse.

Lindsay, my wife, and I spent two years at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in NW Cameroon. We went with Samaritan’s Purse and worked as pediatricians at the hospital, engaged in both daily rounds and clinic work, but also as teaching resident physicians. We try to return annually, and I remain involved by serving on the board of directors for the residency program, updating our pediatric and neonatal management manuals, and intermittently providing on-line lectures for the residents.


What about Charlotte excites you?

Having been away from family since residency, I love that we now live in the same city as my parents, one of my sisters, and Lindsay’s parents. Having the added support and allowing our kids to grow up in frequent communication with their grandparents and extended family has been phenomenal.


What are your interests outside of work?

I love to sing, hang out with my kids, and stay active with our church family along with a weekly Bible Study. I also enjoy traveling internationally and experiencing new cultures.

Learn More About JR