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College Hosts Career Panel for Aspiring Physicians

College Hosts Career Panel for Aspiring Physicians

Posted: November 7, 2014

This past weekend the College’s Office of Career Advisement hosted a panel for students who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine. Leading the discussion was a husband-and-wife team of Catholic physicians, Drs. Mary J. Kotob and Barton Billeci, who are also the parents of a Thomas Aquinas College graduate, Laura Billeci (’09). Joining them on the dais was Dr. Nicole Shirilla, a recent medical school graduate now in her residency. The three spoke about how the College’s graduates can earn their prerequisites for medical school, how to choose the right sort of medical practice, and how Catholic doctors can overcome the ethical challenges they are likely to face.

Medical career talkAs a gynecologist and gynecological surgeon who refuses to perform abortions or prescribe contraceptives, Dr. Kotob knows these challenges all too well. Nonetheless, she encouraged students to be unafraid about practicing medicine. “For two generations, most faithful Catholics avoided the controversial ob-gyn field,” she lamented. Yet the College’s students, she continued, because of their liberal education, are better prepared than most to understand medicine’s moral dimension . “The fact that you are here, getting a strong formation, which you can then take into your career, is awesome,” she said. “If you love what you do, study hard, and pray and keep God in the center, you will be fabulous in medicine.”

Medical career talkDr. Shirilla likewise stressed that medicine is “a field where people of strong faith are needed.” Admitting that the culture of medical schools can at times be hostile toward faithful Catholics, she encouraged students to be mindful of the bigger picture. “Outside of the medical community, there is a whole society of people who are praying for and really wanting principled, faithful physicians to help take care of them and their children.”

A primary-care physician, Dr. Billeci noted that the College’s students are well suited for the practice of medicine. “My advice is that, once your medical school prerequisites are met, you will be more than qualified,” he said. “The vocation of medicine is best served with a comprehensive understanding of the human person, encompassing both the physical and spiritual aspects of health. In over 30 years of medical practice, I have found that the finest, most compassionate, and most thoughtful physicians have had some prior education or experience in the liberal arts.”