“It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you’re still alive, you can go try and do it,” said Gore Panter.
As the Coronavirus pandemic peaked, Shamone Gore Panter’s pregnant niece called her to ask about some misinformation she had heard about the COVID-19 vaccine. The mom-to-be hoped her aunt, a research scholar at Cleveland Clinic, could ease her anxieties, per TODAY.
This changed the lives of both women. The niece received her vaccine and Gore Panter, a mom of four, reconsidered her entire professional career path. “I thought, ‘This is what I need to be doing every day. I want to go to medical school',” the 43-year-old from Cleveland told TODAY. “I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to do it.”
This is not the first time, she had thought of going to a medical school, Panter had also thought about it in 2007. But she felt intimidated by the idea of taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), the lengthy standardized test needed for medical school admission. She pursued a doctorate and began researching cardiovascular genetics at Cleveland Clinic and serving as an assistant lecturer at Cleveland State University.
Over the years, she realized that it was important for Black people to consult Black physicians to address the “justified mistrust” they have about medicine.
“That could be me,” she said. “I might not be able to solve all the problems, (but) sometimes seeing someone who looks like you gives you at least a foot in the door to maybe try to talk to people and give them information to potentially take better care of their health.”
Her sister's death due to heart disease was also one of the events that strengthened Panter's resolve to become a family physician because she believes people share the most information with their family doctors.
Shamone Gore Panter knows it's never too late to follow your dreams.— ClevelandClinicNews (@CleClinicNews) February 13, 2023
She's a mom of 4 and a researcher at @ClevelandClinic.
Then a conversation with her niece inspired her to apply to medical school. (via @TODAYshow)https://t.co/56mF3YNEzK
To help Panter overcome her fears of the MCAT, a co-worker made her take a practice test with a condition. If she received a score above 500, she’d take the real test and apply to medical school. She surpassed that goal, took the actual MCAT, applied to and got accepted into a program that’s a partnership between Ohio University and the Cleveland Clinic.
This program allows students interested in family practice to get their medical school degree in three years. Panter is set to graduate in 2025. “It is an intense three years because we do the same thing as everyone else but then with the added stuff on top,” she says. “We get to see patients every week. That part is really invaluable because it helps us to solidify the things that we’re learning in class.”
The mom-of-four has been balancing medical school and her personal life with her husband's help. “My husband’s really supportive and that helps a lot. And family support as well,” she says. “I (just) try to be very organized.”
“I’m not as available as I was, but I still try to make sure that there’s a little bit of time every day,” she added. She continued, "I might see [the children] on the weekend, you know if they don’t have anything to do. So, I see them in passing. But I’m still texting everybody." She added, “I try to maintain some type of conversation with everybody no matter what I’m doing.” As for going back to medical school in her 40s, she said "it’s never too late for people to pursue their dreams." Panter said, “It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you’re still alive, you can go try and do it,” adding, “That could be a major regret if you don’t even try.”
Cover Image Source: LinkedIn | Shamone Gore Panter