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Week of April 18, 2011

Chapel aims to combine 
rural health, social justice

Growing up on a farm in Parma, Mich., tending cattle and baling hay, David Chapel learned the value of hard work. As the son of a pharmacist and a medical technician he saw the need for better health care in rural communities.

After graduation this month, Chapel, who majored in microbiology and German in the LSA Honors Program, plans a career as a country doctor.

“Becoming a doctor will allow me to use my interest in science as a tool for social justice,” Chapel says. “I can learn skills to minister to the most basic human needs.

“In a rural setting there is so much need. In Parma you have to drive 15 miles to get to the doctor. I know a man in his 70s who was afraid to seek treatment for his heart condition because he was worried he would lose his farm because of the cost.”

“Becoming a doctor will allow me to use my interest in science as a tool for social justice,” David Chapel says of his decision to work in rural healthcare. Photo by Austin Thomason, U-M Photo Services.

Chapel, who is fluent in German, would like to become a family physician focusing on preventative care. Working as a nurse’s aide in an assisted living facility in Jackson during a summer break, he gained insight into the health care system. After his sophomore year, he spent the summer shadowing a physician in Germany, where he went on rounds and learned how to do ultrasounds. That experience solidified his desire to become a doctor, he says.

He currently is doing research on norovirus in the laboratory of Dr. Christiane Wobus, a microbiologist at the Medical School.

A straight-A student, Chapel scored a perfect 45 on his Medical College Admissions Test. He has received offers from U-M, University of Chicago, Cornell University, Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. He will choose a school this month.

In his spare time Chapel plays French horn with the Michigan Pops Orchestra and sings in the Chancel Choir at the First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor. After graduation he plans to ride his bike along country roads back to the farm in Parma, which his family has owned for seven generations. He will work on the farm before starting medical school in the fall.

“I think I am going into medicine at a very exciting time,’’ he says. “I hope by the time I start practicing more people will have access to health care.”



Kim Smith, clinical nurse II, East Ann Arbor Health and Geriatric Center, on installing rain collecting systems: “The expression on people’s faces when you are giving them the gift of water … has been priceless.”


“Crystalloid Columns” from Life in Ceramics: Five Contemporary Korean Artists, presented through June 13 in the Taubman Health Center North Lobby, Floor 1, by Gifts of Art.

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