April 21, 2017

Faith-filled lives influence young doctor

By John Shaughnessy

Gregory SpechtWhen Gregory Specht graduates on May 7, he will naturally think about the support of his family and the friendship of his classmates at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis.

Yet his thoughts will also focus on two people who have influenced his career path—an influence that serves as a reminder that the way people live their faith can have a dramatic impact on a younger generation.

As a boy growing up in Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis, Specht was a patient of Dr. James Rea, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis who specializes in family medicine.

Specht noticed the extra care that Rea seemed to give patients, an impression supported by other members of his extended family who were also cared for by Rea. As he grew older, Specht also noticed the way that Rea lived his faith, coaching sports in the Catholic Youth Organization and being involved in other areas of the community.

“No one in my family is in the medical field,” says Specht, 27. “Seeing someone like him had an impact on me. He’s a good, all-around physician.”

Specht has the same admiration for Dr. Nicholas Fohl, although when he first met Fohl, he had no idea he was a doctor.

“In my first year at Chatard, I became close friends with his daughter, Liz,” says Specht, a 2008 graduate of Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis. “I hung out with her a lot. We were in a band together. I called him, ‘Mr. Fohl.’ I didn’t know he was a physician. Then one day when I had an appointment with Dr. Rea, I saw Dr. Fohl in his white coat.”

Rea and Fohl are in family medicine together in the same Indianapolis office of St. Vincent Health.

Fohl has also been a touchstone for Specht through his four years of medical school.

“When I was trying to decide what I ultimately wanted to do in medicine, he took me out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and we talked about it,” Specht recalls.

He decided to practice family medicine. His residency will be at Franciscan Health Indianapolis.

“They had a huge influence on me in terms of wanting to be in a faith‑based situation,” he says. “They’re good people who are involved in their community. That’s what I want to do.” †


Related story: First graduating class of Marian’s medical school seeks to touch the lives of others

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