A good number of the students I have taught in theology courses at Notre Dame have gone on to medical school. Many of these students feel called to the practice of medicine, and would even speak of their professional pursuits as a vocation. But I often hear from the graduates a grave sense of disappointment in what they encounter in medical school. These are the kind of people who are most committed to their Catholic faith and to seeking out a Catholic approach to healthcare and the understanding of the human person and their own role as healers, They learn a lot in med school and they are prepared well for the technical practice of medicine, but they feel like their way of seeing the world and other human beings is often under strain in the course of their studies. We might think this is the inevitable result at public, secular medical schools, but it turns out that many students who attend the few Catholic medical schools tend to feel similarly. Which leads us to this question: How ought we form young Catholics––as Catholics––for the healthcare professions?
The students have become the teachers in this regard, and today one of my former students is my guest to talk about her own vocation as a doctor and how to form Catholics for healthcare. Dr. Maggie Skoch Musso is a psychiatry resident at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. She completed her MD and a concurrent MA in Bioethics at the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, and she is a 2016 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she studied Theology. While at Notre Dame, Maggie served as the president of the Notre Dame chapter of NAMI––the National Alliance on Mental Illness––and for her work and advocacy on behalf of those suffering with mental illness, Maggie has received numerous awards at both her alma mater and through national organizations.