The panel discussion at “Make A Difference Day” focused on health care careers.

Panelists were asked multiple questions from two senior moderators about a health career, personal insights and obligations. They were also asked questions by this reporter.

Why are you passionate about health care?

  • Marylou Stinson, senior quality improvement coach, South Carolina Office of Rural Health: "Really my passion is rooted in this community. One of my favorite children that I used to go visit, he was about 12 years old and he was over 400 pounds and they had to take him to the feed store to weigh him. Well, he didn't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. He lived right across the street from a convenience store. His mom was really hard working and she worked, and so he ate food that wasn't healthy. But his family didn't have access to healthy food, so I am incredibly passionate about changing what so many communities in South Carolina experience."
  • Brian Conner, executive director, Project Excel: "I see the unhealth in our communities, on television and on the news. … Seeing the reality of why some of these issues exist … I just continued to develop a passion. … I felt like I was in an industry I was not exactly contributing but I was allowing it to persist by not promoting something to change that. And I just got really passionate about … why are the communities so unhealthy."

Why did you choose health care?

  • Dr. Jack Colker, medical director, Regional Medical Center: "I'll tell you that you shouldn't choose any profession, the profession chooses you. You're going to figure this out through the course of your life. You're going to have people who are important figures in your life, basically mentors. And you end up being a little piece of the life of people that you meet.”
  • Reba Cartee, director, healthcare services, Molina Healthcare: "You're going to the health care profession because opportunities abound. You will have the opportunity to choose to be a provider and directly responsible for the care of someone. Or you can be an educator, you can be a business leader. We are always challenged with how we can do things better, how can we do things more cost-effectively and efficiently. You can become a policymaker. It's just not limited to doctors and nurses and pharmacists. The sky is the limit. "

Toughest part of the job?

  • Reba Cartee: "I think the toughest part is dealing with the fact that there has to be a balance and that balance as it relates to financial … having the resources that you need. … Health care is a business, all aspects of it. The beautiful part of that is we also have the opportunity to do good things to make a difference in people's lives. But it is a business, so it’s numbers, it’s budgets, it's allocating resources and so you have to be aware of that and then inspired by that, challenged by that, and overcome it. So that thing that really is the most difficult can also, in the long run, be the most rewarding when you successfully manage those resources."

Tarryn Delyons is a student in the Mass Communications Department at Claflin University.

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