How I Was Awakened to Systematic Injustices in Healthcare and Public Health

By Markus Creachbaum

Mr. Creachbaum earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from John Carroll University in 2015. Stepping outside of his comfort zone he travelled to the other side of the country to the arid dessert of Klagetoh, AZ where he interned on the Navajo Nation Reservation. In the coming academic school year he will be attending the Physician Assistant program at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, OH. Upon graduating from Physician Assistant school he hopes to practice primary care in the urban core.

"These diseases go unchecked, not because patients do not care about their health, but rather because an entire system has turned its back on them," writes Creachbaum (JCU 2015), who is studying to become a physicians assistant.

“These diseases go unchecked, not because patients do not care about their health, but rather because an entire system has turned its back on them,” writes Creachbaum (JCU 2015), who is studying to become a physicians assistant.


In the summer of 2013 I interned at St. Anne’s Mission, which is located on the Navajo Nation Reservation. This particular reservation is the largest in the country. It spans three states—Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah—and in total is larger than the state of West Virginia. While at the mission, I coordinated the service projects for visiting groups and the youth outings for children of the families that we served. I have many amazing memories from this experience, and I can proudly say it changed the course of my life. In the short two months I was there my entire worldview was dismantled. I no longer thought of issues like poverty as an individual’s misfortune but rather as a larger systemic issue that requires much more than compassion to solve.

I was able to further expand this new worldview through my poverty studies as an Arrupe Scholar at John Carroll University. This scholarship program, rooted in our Jesuit-Catholic mission of being Men and Women for and with others, strives to create leaders for social action. In the classroom I was able to engage in social justice issues that I have since become passionate about, such as access to quality healthcare and public health. Furthermore, outside of the classroom, I was able to apply my studies of social justice to international issues, such as access to healthcare in rural Honduras through medical brigades. My experiences, both inside the classroom and out, have brought me to my current position as a Jesuit Volunteer.

I am a Jesuit Volunteer in Kansas City, MO serving at the Kansas City CARE Clinic. This is one of largest free clinics in the nation, and provides a number of services for people with and without insurance. It is a leader in both HIV primary care and research. It offers a number of behavioral health, primary care, and specialty services too. I work in the General Medicine Clinic as a Patient Assistant, as well as in the Psychiatry Department as an Assistant Case Manager. Through my work I have seen first hand the effects that the lack of access to healthcare has on a human being. Patients with uncontrolled chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, are a daily reality for me. These diseases go unchecked, not because patients do not care about their health, but rather because an entire system has turned its back on them. These patients lack the resources to gain entry into the healthcare system. They also lack the funds to afford the medications that control their diseases and the necessary education and awareness about how threatening their diseases can be.

The results from the lack of access to quality healthcare have motivated my passion for healthcare. I plan to live this passion by assisting in closing this access gap for patients through becoming a Physician Assistant. Upon completion of my year of service in Kansas City, I will be attending Physician Assistant School at Ohio Dominican University. As a physician assistant, I hope to continue building on the foundation my Shepherd internship and my classroom studies as an Arrupe Scholar have provided me through working in primary care.

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