Mercer Students Learn While Volunteering

Congratulations to Adam DeLong, Alayna Dukes and Maura Pipkins who began their journey to become doctors on August 29, 2015 at Mercer Medical School’s white coat ceremony. Congratulations also go to Nicole Mette who will enter Mercer Medical School in August of 2016. We are proud of all of you and thankful for your service to Macon Volunteer Clinic!

We all remember our favorite teachers, our mentors whose guidance led to exciting new discoveries. For countless medical students that mentor has been Dr. Jack Menendez at Macon Volunteer Clinic. By our best estimates, Dr. Menendez has seen over 13,000 patients on behalf of Macon Volunteer Clinic since our doors opened in 2003. Dr. Menendez is a steadfast volunteer, always ready to lend a hand.

One medical student in particular, Ms. Maura Pipkins, is convinced she could not have been accepted in to Mercer Medical School without Dr. Menendez. In pursuit of her lifelong dream to become a doctor, Maura spoke with Mercer Medical School advisors four years ago, asking what she could do to prepare for medical school. Mercer Medical School, whose curriculum emphasizes volunteerism, encouraged Maura to volunteer at a local clinic.

Maura contacted Macon Volunteer Clinic and began volunteering in 2011. At first she worked in the radiology suite and would do odd jobs like storing donations. Eventually a spot opened up to assist Dr. Menendez and Maura jumped at the chance. Over the next three years Maura had the truly unique opportunity to work with an expert in community medicine.

Maura began to understand that the patients at Macon Volunteer Clinic come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. Each patient comes with a story. Maura observed Dr. Menendez and noticed that he used different tactics to get patients’ history and how to manage their distress. Dr. Menendez has a wonderful manner and ability to read his patients and encourage the best from his patients.

One day Maura was frustrated because she kept seeing patients who would not comply with Dr. Menendez’s medical orders and prescriptions. She asked Dr. Menendez how he can be so calm when a patient is not compliant. Dr. Menendez said, “You cannot want it more than they do.” His wisdom allowed Maura to understand the doctor/patient relationship in a way she never could have on her own. Maura feels that Mr. Menendez’s insight helps her both as a mother and a medical student.

Maura calls Dr. Menendez a “walking dictionary,” and sees him constantly researching and reading about new treatments and techniques. She is impressed by Dr. Menendez’s constant ability to seek more knowledge for the good of his patients. Maura believes that Dr. Menendez is the reason she was accepted into medical school and is deeply grateful for his commitment to medicine and to Macon Volunteer Clinic.

Dr. Menendez considers it a privilege to have volunteered with Maura, saying “There is no question but that she will do well. She exhibits a certain quality of patient advocacy that I believe will always be a key factor in the excellence of care given by physicians.” Maura’s friendship with Dr. Menendez continues outside the walls of Macon Volunteer Clinic.