My Journey

Kenyan Flag scottish-flag

I was born in Kenya and raised by my father who was a Kenyan surgeon and my Scottish mother who had a love for the humanities. I received my BA in English at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and my MFA in Theatre with a concentration in Acting at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. I have taught Acting, Speech, Improvisation, and Honors Humanities Seminars at several universities including Lane College, Stillman College and, most recently, Murray State University, where I held the positions of Assistant Professor of Acting, as well as Academic Dean of the Commonwealth Honors Academy.

Academic Dean CHA

I have also performed in multiple professional acting roles including Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Colorado; The King in The King and I at Wolfarht-Haus Theatre in Virginia; and Jim in Big River at Peach State Summer Theatre in Georgia.

King and I

In 2011, I made a major life transition after deciding to transfer my knowledge of the human condition from the world of fiction to non-fiction by enrolling in medical school, where I am now in my fourth year, on a clinical research leave of absence seeking out what I might previously in Theatre have called the “backstory.”

awori

Fueled by the belief that we can use “story” to heal the human body in addition to modern medicine, I have found that my liberal arts background coupled with my medical knowledge has placed me in a unique position to not just treat a patient on the physical level but on the emotional level as well by getting the patient to tell their story.  Interestingly, as the field of Narrative Medicine will acknowledge, what ails us and makes us sick often times has a story to it.  I pursue my love for writing and my passion for medicine to ensure that those stories are written and honored. I recently contributed a story to MindWise, the podcast of the Michigan Alzheimer’s disease center, based on a interview with a patient living with memory loss. I have also served as a moderator for the Medical Arts Program at the University of Michigan and directed a staged reading of the medically themed play Molly Sweeney based on a real case study by famed neurologist Oliver Sachs.

My fascination with shifting identities provides a link between my work as an actor and the machinations and pathologies of the human brain in medicine. My attraction and penchant for interdisciplinary work has led to such diverse projects as improvisation workshops with MBA students tackling the 21st century challenge facing all professions, how to approach the unexpected.

Which all brings me to this blog. Why blog?

  1. To reflect: In a fast paced world where there is precious little opportunity to step back and ask important questions like “Why?” this blog represents a chance to do just that.
  1. To learn: I want to connect with thoughtful people and learn from their ideas.
  1. To share my story with my children: There are thousands of stories that are being archived right now in the Library of Congress. I don’t know if my story will end up there, but I do know that I can leave it right here for my two most important readers, my boys Christian and Cameron.
Comments
  1. Poetic Liberty says:

    This is so encouraging and motivating!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kenel says:

    The world would be my oyster if I had the ActingDoctor, PotentialDoctor and just a few others as classmates! The interesting hobbies, eloquence, breadth of knowledge and down to earth personalities will make you both exceptional physicians (if I may say so w/o getting ahead of myself)! Both your stories are so inspiring; indeed, I’m reminded why I decided to forego my reticence to joining a social network: because somethings can’t be said in just a few words.

    Technology is empowering (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), but to me, I still appreciate the basics: a pen, paper and a thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for those generous and kind words Kenel! I have no doubt that you would make a dynamic classmate as well. But meanwhile, I’m glad we are all enrolled in this virtual blogging “course” together. To great learning . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan, thank you so much for this blog! You are on exactly the right path, and I like to think that I have found my way to join you. Our stories are our lives. We have a hand in choosing how to tell and live them, first to ourselves and to the world. Modern medicine leaves less and less time for the telling and the listening, and we have to resist the temptation to ignore the stories for ‘the facts’ or ‘the evidence.’ We must honor, as you say, everyone’s stories of suffering and health. I so look forward to reading your blog. I hope we can exchange ideas and suggestions, and recruit more of our colleagues onto this path to wholeness for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! I should have visited your blog before. I agree, by blogging I also get to reflect about life and the medical profession (’cause sometimes it can be very draining)… anyway, so glad to find my way to your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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