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Couple shares wanderlust, passion for
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, the ancient
Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once wrote.
College of Medicine graduates and family medicine physicians, Dianna
and Dean Kubacz, have laid down a life path that reflects their
adventurous spirit and unselfish commitment to serve others. It’s an
all-inclusive journey that has only begun.
Aiken native and Erskine graduate Dianna, 26, and Dean, 32, a
Dacusville native and Clemson University alumnus, share their
love of travel and different cultures as well as a devotion to caring
for underserved populations. As physicians, they’ll have a chance to
deliver comprehensive and compassionate quality health care for
patients of all ages around the world.
“In my many years of working with medical students, I have seldom known
two people who are more compassionate and committed than Dean and
Dianna,” said Wanda L. Taylor, director of admissions, in the College
of Medicine. “They both share common traits – a love of nature, a
healthy lifestyle and a passion for helping others.”
Unlike scores of couples who’ve met while in medical school, fell in
love and married, Dianna and Dean hadn’t become acquainted until they
participated in a medical mission trip halfway around the world in
Thouyandou, South Africa. By fate, Dean joined the group at the last
moment after another student had dropped out.
After marrying in 2005, they took an international health
interdisciplinary course, Topics in International Health and Tropical
Medicine, taught by course director Andrea Summer, M.D., assistant
professor of pediatrics and director of the MUSC International Adoption
“The course prepares students like Dianna and Dean for the complex
public health issues and unfamiliar diseases and conditions they are
more likely to encounter in tropical and remote settings with limited
resources,” said Summer.
During their clinical years, the couple chose to complete their family
medicine rotational experiences together. Though she began medical
school a year earlier than Dean, the step would allow Deanna to
participate in other clinical opportunities.
In 2006, she accepted a position with the International Mission Board
and Baptist Mission Center, working 10 weeks with missionary physicians
in Nalerigu, Ghana.
In South Carolina, they participated in a six-week rural clerkship in
Abbeville, working with a team of physicians, nurses and other health
Then, they headed west and worked in a family medicine externship at
Klamath Falls, Ore. In October 2007, they took part in a four-week
elective in remote Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, Alaska, located in the heart
of the Aleutian Islands, and base camp for the Discovery Channel’s
reality TV show, The Deadliest Catch.
The Kubaczs will attend a three-year family medicine residency at Via
Christi Regional Medical Center, which is affiliated with the
University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita. The program offers
obstetrics experience (Dianna) and procedural training in endoscopic
skills (Dean). It’s also on the cusp of launching its new, optional
fourth-year international medicine fellowship.
Dianna and Dean are excited about the many possibilities they face.
Either would be happy providing quality health care within a rural
community somewhere in the United States, or managing an overseas
medical missions clinic.
“I’m confident that both Dianna and Dean will make great physicians
wherever they go,” Taylor said. "The future of medicine is in wonderful
hands because of people like them.”
COM student named Fullerton Scholar
The College of Medicine is celebrating a rare quadfecta in scholarly
excellence. Graduating medical student Dean Kubacz, M.D., is among four
medical students designated as Fullerton Scholars.
Other current scholars include Lauren Yarrow (Class of 2009); Anna
Hoffius (2010) and Blakeley Andrews (2011).
MUSC is one of six medical schools in South and North Carolina that
participate in the Fullerton Foundation’s Medical Scholarship program
established in 1985. Participating schools include MUSC, University of
South Carolina School of Medicine, Duke University, University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University and East Carolina
Each year, the six participating schools nominate an incoming medical
student to compete for one of two $20,000 annual awards. The award
continues for the duration of the student's enrollment in medical
school and is based on a student’s satisfactory progress. Since 2000,
the foundation began awarding three scholarships per year.
Eligible scholars must show a potential for service in the health care
fields and choose to specialize in primary care and practice medicine
in the Carolinas.
Since 1993, MUSC has recognized nine students as Fullerton scholars,
which also include: Trey Duckett, M.D., (Class of 2007); Jodi Anderson,
M.D., (2005); Travis Johnson, M.D., (2004); Emmeleen Phan, M.D., (2002)
Thomas Joseph, M.D., (1997).
Friday, May 16, 2008
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