My name is Wes Henderson, and I am an MS-II. I grew up in Greensboro, NC very close to the city of Pleasant Garden, and I attended NCSU (BS in Zoology) and Campbell (MS in Biomedical Sciences). When I am not studying, I enjoy playing my mandolin in local Irish Sessions – where people come together to play traditional Irish tunes and share food and drink, much like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWp0jT94IXI&list=RDxqoSD1825yc&index=9
What drew you to volunteer with the CUCCC?
Before I came to Campbell, I was a nursing assistant for many years. I still really enjoy taking care of others using my hands, and I suppose this is the main reason why I love to volunteer at CUCCC. Also, there are many aspects of patient care that cannot be taught in the classroom, and as a student doctor, I welcome any opportunity to learn and improve my patient care skills.
Improving my own skills is not the only reason, however; I believe strongly in teamwork in patient care. The CUCCC is very well organized and fosters a collaborative environment for students at any level of their training to help patients who may not otherwise receive essential care. Even now with COVID restrictions, the telemedicine visits are helping me learn how to engage patients and make a difference in better ways despite barriers to health care – an essential skill for a caregiver to learn!
I think one of the major challenges of telemedicine is the inability to perform the majority of a physical exam, however, not all patients necessarily need an extensive physical. Telemedicine creates a platform that makes it easier for patients to gain access to medical advice, seek updates to their medication, or present for a follow-up appointment. Especially now, under the pandemic, this also cuts down on unnecessary potential exposure to COVID. If a patient were in need of a physical exam, we simply ask for the patient to come into our clinic at the school to be assessed.
What else are you involved in besides the CUCCC?
I’m president of the CUSOM chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, and I’m also involved a few research projects – one for anatomy and one for the Summer Research Scholars Program.
For anatomy, I am working on our CAP case study – investigating the current understanding of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a spectrum of liver disease that ranges from mild steatosis to fibrotic and necrotic/inflammatory changes in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The project for the Summer Research Scholars program involves expanding work on a pilot survey study with Dr. Hinkelman, et al. investigating the patterns and contributing factors of vaccine hesitancy among rural populations living in health provisions shortage areas (HPSA’s) like Harnett Co. The WHO declares vaccine hesitancy one of the top 10 threats to health in the world, so we are working with a seed grant to find out why people may refuse or hesitate to receive a vaccine or do so with their children. We are particularly interested in our rural communities where patients have limited access to care.
What do you hope we learn from COVID-19?
I hope that everyone can take away something positive from these unfortunate events brought on by a pandemic. For instance: patience and trust in humanity, deeper compassion for others, an understanding of the weaknesses and strengths of our public health system along with an appreciation for those who we employ to ensure our well-being, and a habit to seek comfort in friends, family, and the Lord more often – not just when we are weary.