To look back and give forward — this was the message that Jennifer Caudle wanted to instill in the students and faculty of Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, where she recently was the key note speaker for the school’s “50 Shades of Great: A History of Minorities in Medicine” Black History Month Dinner. Sponsored by Rowan SOM’s Student Medical Association, the event aimed to present the diversity of the school and the achievements of minorities in medicine.
Caudle, a graduate with honors from Princeton University and medical graduate of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, now Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, made a visit to her former school in order to help inspire future doctors and to celebrate America’s history of minorities in medicine.
She was also an instructor of medicine at John Hopkins University and is currently an on-air medical expert for various news networks including CNN, Fox29 News Philadelphia, The Dr. Oz Show and many others. She also wrote medical articles for local and national magazines.
Throughout her speech, Caudle focused on inspiration and motivation.
“[Black History Month] always gets me excited and motivated. It reminds me of where we, as a people, have come from and reminds me of all the things we can do in the future,” Caudle said. “I heard someone say Black History Month is American History Month. If you think about it, this is about all of our history, not just black history, which I think is quite true.”
Caudle began with her own background, from her struggle to pay for school through several jobs to her using the Miss America Pageant to win scholarship money as a former Miss Ohio.
To her, these were steps to becoming a doctor, which she originally did not intend on pursuing as a career.
“My first love was not medicine. I don’t know how many of you grew up wanting to be a physician, that’s not how I felt necessarily,” Caudle said. “I grew up as a musician. I’m a cellist and I grew up all my life wanting to be a musician.”
She explained her own motivations through hearing other individuals’ struggles and stories, in order to inspire her in her medical practice.
“Diversity is one of the main missions of the school, which the Student National Medical Association really puts into real life and real work, showing and displaying all the great things going on, not only in the country, not only in the school, but in our student and faculty as well,” said Director of Alumni and Students of Affairs Dean Micciche.
Caudle also spoke in length about giving to others.
“Giving to other people doesn’t make you any less, it doesn’t take away from anything you’re supposed to have,” Caudle said. “If you’re supposed to have it, if you’re supposed to be it, it’s going to happen anyway, so give to other people, share. Give with love and give with grace and give with warmth in your heart.”
After speaking on everything from her own experiences, the rewards of hard work and her own inspirations, Caudle asked the audience “to look back and give forward,” to look into our past to inspire and learn, in order to give forward in a positive way.
Telling the audience they are capable of anything, Caudle concluded the night with a quote from Marianne Williamson’s poem “Our Deepest Fear.” She ended her speech with, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Third-year medical student at RowanSOM Daniel Ezidiegwu found Caudle’s speech inspiring.
“That was wonderful honestly, lots of gems and words of wisdom all around,” Ezidiegwu said.
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