Student view:

Jon Benton: Taking medical training back to his roots

July 13, 2016

Jon Benton standing near EMS truckSome people get an adrenaline rush from jumping out of planes, others take a fast ride on a roller coaster. Then there are people like third-year MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine student Jon Benton. Having worked as an emergency medical technician since his junior year of high school, Benton gets a rush from helping others.

“My experience as an EMT in Flint, Michigan, has been influential in my development as a medical professional,” said Benton. “Once I graduate medical school, I hope to return to my community to provide care as a physician.”

Benton moved to Grand Blanc when Genesys Hospital opened. He grew up with many osteopathic influences and comes from a long line of Flint doctors. Given his interests and family history, he began exploring the medical field in high school.

“I went into undergrad with health care experience in full-arrests, shootings, stabbings and drug overdoses,” Benton said. “After graduating from MSU Lyman Briggs in 2012 with a physiology major, I took two years off before med school to continue working emergency medical services in Flint.”

Benton chose MSUCOM for its focus on patient-centered care and early clinical experience with patients.

“Working EMS, I cared for drug addicts, victims of abuse, sex workers, homeless and those with psychiatric illness,” he said. “I wanted a program that would further my ability to care for vulnerable populations.”

Benton was also drawn to MSUCOM’s medical service opportunities in Michigan and abroad. He is involved in vaccination clinics and student and sports osteopathic manipulative medicine clinics, and participated in the August 2015 Peru medical elective.Jon Benton in a white doctor's coat

“Providing health care with limited resources to a primarily Spanish-speaking community was an excellent test of my patient care abilities. For a patient in pain who could not walk, I used manipulative medicine to treat her legs and feet,” said Benton. “She thought it was magic when she could walk steadily without pain.”

In Peru, Benton also took on the role of clinical investigator in eight research studies to improve public health in Peru. His experiences abroad have inspired him to pursue another international elective and a possible surgical rotation in Malawi, Africa, in the future.

When he’s not studying, Benton plays guitar and piano, and even has a loose jam band with fellow MSUCOM students. He also stays active with powerlifting, mixed martial arts and snowboarding.

Heading back to Genesys for a third-year clerkship, Benton is excited about being close to home. He is considering specialties in emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery or any of the surgical specialties. As he decides on his career’s direction, he knows that he has the experience to take on whatever comes his way.

“Being a professional in medicine means more than making a diagnosis and providing the best treatment,” he said. “It requires practicing patient-centered care, leadership skills, knowing how to operate within a team and having the ability to act in critical situations.”

Story by Meg Spenchian and reprinted with permission from the College of Osteopathic Medicine