June 25, 2017

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Third-Year Medical Student Reid Johnson’s Journey into Medicine

Reid Johnson, Third-Year Medical Student

Reid Johnson at ACMC-Marshall

Raised in California this surfer, banjo player, genealogist, and Eagle Scout packed his bags at 19, leaving Southern California behind. He traveled more than 5,000 miles to Santiago, Chile, on a church mission trip. What Reid didn’t know at the time was that his two-year experience in South America would help determine the direction of his future.

First Came Boy Scouts then Came Medicine

As a Boy Scout, Reid was most excited to earn his first-aid merit badge. He also remembers being sick a lot throughout his childhood, and then watching his dad battle kidney cancer. These were some of the first experiences that made him think medicine might be an interesting field. Then in his junior year of high school, he took a first responder class and found he had an aptitude for the medical field. But it was during his mission trip in Chile when it finally clicked.

Reid in Chile on his church mission trip.

Reid in Chile on his church mission trip.

“Helping others was something that was ingrained in me as a child. It wasn’t until my teens that I started to get interested in medicine. A sense of excitement hit me in Chile when I saw this group of fire fighters who were so passionate about serving their communities. I wanted that. I wanted to serve others doing something I was really passionate about. That was when I first realized I could as a doctor. I could help people who were sick. I could help people live healthier lifestyles,” Reid said.

“The first step was to further my education. When I returned from Chile, I signed up to attend Brigham Young University in Utah. At the time, I was still weighing my options. Did I want to go to veterinary school or get my Ph.D.? But I knew my heart was really in medicine, caring for families. After I graduated from BYU, I applied to medical school and have loved every minute of it,” Reid said.

From Santiago, Chile, to Marshall, Minnesota

You can take Reid out of California, but you can't take the California out of him.  Reid and his family in Dana Point, Calif., last year.

You can take Reid out of California, but you can’t take the California out of him. Reid and his family in Dana Point, Calif., last year.

As a third-year medical student Reid is travelling again. This fall he landed in Marshall, Minn., for the first half of his medical student rotations at ACMC. These days he’s got a car load—two kids, ages one and four, and his wife Susie —along for the ride. For the second half of his rotation, they’ll hit the road and head a little more than an hour northeast to ACMC-Willmar.  In the past few months, Reid’s had the chance to dive right into the world of primary care, which he’s most interested in pursuing. While in Marshall he’s worked with family medicine physicians Dr. Jill Vroman and Dr. Steven Meister. He’s also had the opportunity to learn from OB/GYN Dr. Yong-Seung Lee, internal medicine Dr. Min-Hyung Kim and pediatrician Dr. Atul Mishra.

“The doctors, nurses and other staff have been so friendly and patient with me. I can tell I slow them down, but I’m so appreciative of the time they take to teach me. I’ve only been here three months, but they’ve already had such an impact on me,” Reid said. “These doctors are helping to shape me into the doctor I will be one day. When I put on my white coat reporting for my first day as an official doctor, I’ll have little pieces of each of the doctors who have helped to train me. Being a doctor is a big responsibility, but it will also be one of the greatest privileges in my life.”

No matter where his path in medicine takes him, ACMC-Marshall and ACMC-Willmar will always be an important pit stop along the way.