Hi everyone! My name is Kai Inguito, and I’m a rising second year medical student at Jefferson. I would like to share about my time SHADOWing at SMI. One of my career interests in medicine is to become a primary care physician who works and lives in the community. Furthermore, I am curious about how to integrate both the physical and spiritual care of a person. SMI has given me the opportunity to explore glimpses of these desires in two different ways:
1) During SMI, we had the opportunity to SHADOW at one of the three sites of Esperanza Health Center in North Philadelphia. I was able to SHADOW two primary care physicians and see how they integrate their faith and medicine into their practice.
Like any normal practice, the doctors performed the usual physical exam (e.g., listening to the lungs or shining a LIGHT in their eyes and ears) and asked the usual questions in a primary care visit (e.g., what brings you in, or when did that start?).
Although these doctors were sometimes behind on paperwork and sometimes limited in their capacity resource-wise, they still lent their listening ears to each patient. One question that I had never seen asked before in a medical practice to a patient (or even, from a patient) until my time with SMI was “Can we pray together?”.
2) During SMI, we also had the opportunity to SHADOW door-to-door on the streets and neighborhoods of North Philadelphia. By this, I mean, my team and I would walk in the SHADOWs to stay out of the sun between health screens, taking blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. We also partnered with local churches to pray for the people we screened and to connect them with a church community for support.
Like any normal health screen, we checked up on people’s health, and we also provided education on their care, such as on the importance of taking medications and getting screened regularly. We had to go out into the dayLIGHT to do this. Otherwise, people would be left in the SHADOWs potentially to the detriment of their own health.
Although my team and I wanted to stay in the darkness and out of the heat, we knew we had to lend our listening ears to each house and ask if they need prayer too. One quote that stuck out to me was from a lovely woman who said, “I’m really glad that you stopped by. I haven’t seen a doctor in a long time, or even felt just simply listened to, and I’m just so grateful.”
With both of these experiences SHADOWing, it was easy to see the parallels between faith and medicine. In other words, it was difficult to separate them because of how integrated they are to the care of a person. In both instances, I saw people crying because of the suffering they experienced with their health and in their lives. Honestly, it is often hard, especially during difficult times, speaking from personal experience, to see that He uses people and is LIGHTing a path toward the end of the tunnel.
However, I’ve seen the power of listening and prayer that allowed for not only the doctor-patient relationship to be strengthened, but also a sense of peace to be felt. I’ve seen that God works in us, not only for those who heal others or for those being healed, but also for those who have hope in His Love. I’ve seen that “even though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). I’ve seen that “the LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).