June 24, 2017

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Traveling, Medicine and Third-Year Medical Student Molly Manthe

Molly Manthe, Third-Year Medical StudentWhether it’s a cross-country trip or a trip overseas, Molly Manthe has always loved traveling.   As a third-year Des Moines University medical student, Molly is spending the school year on rotation at ACMC in Willmar. Although with her busy medical student schedule, it’s been impossible to pack up and hit the road lately—other than a few trips home to Avon, Minnesota.

Family Vacations to International Travel

When Molly was young her family moved from Minnesota to Washington (and eventually back again). But most of her family still lived in Minnesota. Every year she and the rest of her family would pile in the big family van for a road trip.

“I used to love those trips, making memories with my family.  We’d always make stops along the way—from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone. I think that’s where my love of travel really began,” she said.

Then her travel went international with a camping trip to Canada and a mission trip in Mexico.  Though she enjoyed both trips, it was always her dream to travel to France.  Her father had studied abroad in France and loved it so much that he worked there for two years after college.

“I remember my dad telling us all these stories about his time and adventures in France. It sounded so exciting to live somewhere else and travel to see new things; things you can’t see around here, things that have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years,” Molly said.

She was so interested in the French culture that she even minored in French during her undergraduate studies at Southwest Minnesota State University.  When she had the chance to take her own Global Studies trip to France, she jumped at the opportunity.

“It was amazing to get to do some of the things my dad had done so many years earlier. I loved seeing all of the sites I had read and dreamed about,” Molly said. “But my favorite part of the trip was seeing the different ways people lived, what their everyday lives were like.”

She enjoyed that Global Studies trip so much that she later traveled to Spain, too. And one day she hopes to add Greece and Italy to the list of places she’s seen.

Tying it All Together

Molly certainly didn’t make any connection between medicine and travel at the time.  She was just traveling and having a good time. Looking back she sees how learning about different cultures, their backgrounds and the way they live, gives her a different mindset when it comes to caring for her patients.

“I think it’s important to realize that cultural differences are everywhere. Even right here in Willmar we see a lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds. Learning to respect one another and cross that cultural divide is really important for me not only as a medical student, but in my future practice,” Molly said.

Though Molly would love to work in a clinic like ACMC-Willmar one day, she has another dream to cross of her list along the way.

Maybe it’s the travel-bug in her, maybe it’s just because she wants to give back. But eventually Molly imagines combining her love of travel and medicine, serving patients in countries that need medical care the most through Doctors Without Borders.

“In America we are so privileged and often forget this,” said Molly. “The Doctors Without Borders program is a reminder of this, and is also a way to experience the world. More importantly, it is a way to give back. I was always taught growing up that if you have a God-gifted talent it is your responsibility to share it.”

A doctor once told Molly that in Africa many children went unimmunized because they lived too far away from a refrigerator in which vaccines should be kept. “There is never a good reason for a child to die, but this reason is unacceptable. And there is something that can be done about it,” said Molly.  “Working with a program like Doctors Without Borders could allow me to help change things and make a difference.”

First Molly is focusing on finishing medical school, securing her residency and becoming Dr. Molly Manthe—and maybe, if she’s lucky, fitting a little travel in there, too.