November 2020 Alumni Spotlight – Jaime Basham Whittington

Jaime Basham Whittington, is an alumnus from the Marshall University Communication Disorders program and was a current 3rd year student physician studying at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine at the time of her spotlight.

Jaime earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders in 2005 and a Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders in 2007 from Marshall University. After graduation, she worked as a full-time speech-language pathologist from 2007-2018. During that time, Jaime worked with geriatric populations in long-term care and acute care facilities.

As Jaime pursued her career as an esteemed SLP, she found herself gravitating toward the medical aspects of the field. She says that she first contemplated attending medical school in undergrad, but eventually decided she wanted to focus on starting a family and having children. It wasn’t until 2018 when Jaime realized she wanted to continue her education, this time in medicine.

In 2018, Jaime started as a first-year medical student at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, while still working as a PRN SLP. She states, “WVSOM was a natural choice once I interviewed there. My views of patient care aligned easily with the holistic osteopathic ideals (mind, body, spirit) integrated into medicine.” Over the past three years, Jaime has worked tirelessly toward her degree and as a student physician rotating in the Logan and Charleston hospital systems.

When asked how her prior experience as a SLP has impacted her as a medical student and in medicine, Jaime said, “One of my recent preceptors said to me ‘your clinical experience has served you well. You’re a natural with patients.’ This was some of my best feedback because, personally, a doctor’s most important asset isn’t knowing all the answers with every patient. What matters most is trust—having a doctor that can communicate with their patients, working together to develop a plan of care, letting them know they are heard and cared for.”

It is apparent that Jaime is motivated to help others. Although she no longer practices as a speech-language pathologist on a daily basis, she still maintains her ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence and her WV licensure. She also cares for the people of West Virginia and hopes to have a residency in the state, possibly in emergency medicine, family medicine, or women’s care when she graduates in May 2022.

If Jaime’s heart and zeal wasn’t apparent enough, she also boasts about the MUCD program and its preparation for her career and journey in medical school. Jaime reveals how the MUCD program instilled the importance of evidence-based medicine and care. She said, “The program exposed me to a variety of disorders and populations. It prepared me for being excellent at clinical documentation and grew my skills to be the type of competent clinician that the faculty expected. I learned compassion, respect, and empathy for so many people. I understand additional services that are physician-ordered in my current practice – those services that are essential and supplementary to primary care. I frequently draw from a knowledge foundation that was built during my time completing the MUCD program. I will never forget many of my experiences as a MUCD student – and I hope to never miss an aphasia question on my board exams either!”

In addition to her amazing achievements as a professional, Jaime is also quite proud of her family. She has a husband, 3 sons, and a female standard poodle—to help even out all of the testosterone in the house! She adds that she had her twin sons when she was finishing her MUCD graduate program almost 14 years ago.

Lastly, Jaime spoke fondly of our Department Chair, Pam Holland; as well as her journey from speech-language pathology to medicine. Jaime said, “Pam Holland, the chair and graduate program director, has always supported me. I can’t thank her enough for guiding me in the field of speech-language pathology, setting an example of what I wanted to be as a clinician, and also for encouraging me when I told her I wanted to do more. Many people ask me, ‘Did you not like being a speech therapist?’ Speech pathology was my first love, a passion of mine, and always will be. I often use the analogy that when I decided to have another pregnancy, I didn’t love my first babies any less. I look for my current endeavor in medical school to build on my clinical knowledge and skills rather than being a replacement. I owe many thanks to the MUCD program, Mrs. Holland, and many others that helped me along the way.”

2022 Graduate Open House set for October 7th

Congratulations to our SLP students who received a 100% pass rate on the 2020 Praxis Exam. Thank you to our hardworking faculty who helped make this possible.

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