Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Whitworth alumnus has global impact through research and service in India

After his third year of medical school at the University of Utah, Whitworth alum Paul Long, ’08, and his wife traveled to Kolkata, in eastern India.  They lived there for nine months, working with Mercy Hospital and conducting public health research projects.

Long and his wife began most days working in city-wide healthcare clinics with community health workers, nurses and doctors. During their stay, they worked on two research projects, including an assessment of the general health characteristics of Indian high school students. They also studied the basic knowledge of diabetes amongst Indians in socially disadvantaged communities.

 “Seeing the festivals, the culture and the people, and trying to learn the language, were all great experiences,” says Long. “We went to explore whether working in medicine outside of the United States was something my wife and I wanted to continue as a part of our careers, and this trip certainly reinforced that it was for us.”

Long has been traveling to India since he was a kid. His grandparents have been missionaries in that part of India for 60 years, and in the 1970s they established Mission of Mercy, a humanitarian initiative that has since built schools, medical facilities and nutrition programs throughout eastern India. Long inherited this love of India and its people, and he hopes to continue working in India for years to come.

Long plans to complete medical school in May and to begin an internal-medicine residency this summer. He plans on either practicing as a hospitalist or going on to become a cardiologist.

While at Whitworth, Long majored in biochemistry and minored in theology. He says that he was deeply influenced by his relationships with the Whitworth faculty, specifically Professor of Chemistry Karen Stevens, Associate Professor of Physics Kamesh Sankaran, and Professor of Kinesiology Toby Schwarz.

 “Medicine is unique in that it is a marriage of the sciences with the humanities,” says Long. “Having an academic curriculum at Whitworth that allowed me to study molecular bonds one hour and the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas the next prepared me extremely well for my training in medicine. I am very thankful for my time at Whitworth.”

Long says Whitworth students should know that they are receiving a world-class education from unique professors committed to teaching.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.