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This experience taught me the core of what medicine would be for me... forming a personal bond with my patients by listening to them and working with them to identify and help meet their needs."
FOUNDER'S STORY

It was his faith that led Nicholas Bower (DO '05) to pursue a life of service in community health and preventative medicine. "I always knew that I wanted to find a profession where service was at the core of my work," says Dr. Bower, a devout Catholic whose parents instilled in him a love for serving others.

While in high school, Dr. Bower began exploring the medical field. "I knew that the health professions lent themselves to directly serving people who were suffering, and it became a clear choice for me, " he recalls. When Dr. Bower's guidance counselor suggested that he participate in a church mission trip to Ecuador to help impoverished people with health problems, he jumped at the opportunity. " I saw it as a sign that this was the career direction I should take," he says.

His two weeks in Ecuador steered the course of his life. "I saw directly how medicine and spirituality can work together as the most potent form of healing," he relates. "When people have nothing and all you have to offer them is your compassion and prayers and your company at their bedside, you inspire hope, and I think hope is often where the healing process begins."

When he returned from Ecuador, Dr. Bower knew he had it in his heart to be a healer. Until that time, he hadn't set the world on fire academically, but he was determined to work harder so that he could pursue his goals. "I felt driven to give it my all," he recalls.

As a college freshman, he discovered osteopathic medicine. "I was blown away by the holistic philosophy of this beautiful profession," says Dr. Bower, who would later serve as president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians Undergraduate Chapter at PCOM. "It was a perfect fit with my own personal philosophy."

Four years later, at the end of his first year at PCOM, Dr. Bower decided to return to Ecuador. "I embarked on a one-month volunteer experience working with leprosy patients and pediatric and adult patients with infectious diseases who had no financial resources whatsoever. In some cases, their families financed everything just to buy them HIV medicine. This experience taught me the core of what medicine would be for me... forming a personal bond with my patients by listening to them and working with them to identify and help meet their needs."

Galvanized by this experience, Dr. bower returned home determined that other PCOM students should have the same opportunity. Putting his faith into action, he founded Physicians for Humanity to help students make medical service trips and complete clerkships in Ecuador. "Our goal is to inspire young people to find a call to service to help people with the least, and also gain a global perspective of medicine." he relates. "Students learn to focus on those around them instead of themselves.."

"I believe that correcting the majority of society's ills begins with that spirit of caring for your neighbor, whether it's your international neighbor or the person who literally lives next door to you," Dr. Bower emphasizes. "The well-being of that neighbor directly impacts you, and it's the blindness to that truth that keeps us from moving forward in a humanistic way as a society. That's my ethos for establishing Physicians for Humanity and offering this opportunity to students."

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