Faculty voice:

Richard Bryce: Recognizing Ellie Small

May 8, 2020

Richard Bryce is an assistant professor and physician in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. This piece is dedicated to Ellie Small, a second-year medical student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine and president of Detroit Street Care. Small was recently recognized as National Student DO of the Year by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.”  -Patch Adams

I am so fortunate to work with the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine student organization Detroit Street Care, or DSC.

The primary goal of DSC is to meet the medical needs of individuals experiencing homelessness in the city of Detroit by seeking them out in an environment and manner in which they feel comfortable and in control.

I have the incredible opportunity to work with many outstanding students who remind me every day of the importance of taking care of those less fortunate. One of these extraordinary students is Ellie Small.  

Ellie is completing her second year of medical school and is the president of DSC.

Ellie’s dedication to Detroit Street Care, and the profession overall, has been instrumental in our ability to make a positive impact on the lives of our patients. She exemplifies the virtue to assist the poor, the sick, the weak and the downtrodden, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. She has provided excellent medical care to those facing homelessness in Detroit.  

For example, when she observed a gentleman walking down the street, hunched over his walker, she offered to provide Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment. This treatment allowed the man to stand upright, for which he was extremely thankful.

More importantly, she brings an incredible humanistic approach to our patients. She has spent countless hours preparing sandwiches for those that may be hungry. She assisted in organizing handwashing stations for those living on the streets in the face of COVID-19. She helped plan a birthday party for a patient suffering homelessness, who we have come to know well. Ellie understands that we are all brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstance. Her efforts demonstrate the compassion we all deserve, which in turn impacts our patient’s health and well-being.

Ellie does not just treat disease; she takes care of people. She portrays love, enthusiasm and selflessness to all, no matter who they are or where they come from.  She has motivated me to remember the most important aspects of practicing medicine and the reasons that I have become a physician.