Broadneck’s Future Doctors Organization has big dreams for expansion, distribution, and saving lives.
In 2012, Broadneck alumnus Paxton Paganelli wanted to find a way for himself and other students interested in medical careers to learn what working in the medical field is like while still in school. He created the Future Doctors Organization. Six years later, the club has grown substantially within Broadneck and the community— and may be on its way to national recognition.
Paganelli was just a sophomore when he originally came up with the idea for the Future Doctors Organization. “Paxton Paganelli started the club… because he wanted to go into the medical field, but knew nothing about it. He had no idea what he was going to get himself into, and wanted a sneak peek before spending the long hours and money for college and medical school,” explained current FDO president Erica Jacobson. “It’s so crazy that he did this and is still making it happen.”
Alongside Paganelli, Jacobson is now working to grow the club into a nationwide organization, similar to the National Honor Society. “Broadneck is currently the only school to have it in the country,” she explained, “so I am working hand-in-hand with Paxton to help create it in other schools [and] even across the country.” She added, “I am also helping Paxton interview medical professionals for a video campaign he is creating. A little teaser is being made to broadcast the Future Doctors’ Organization’s and doctors’ perspectives on going into the medical field, along with their views on healthcare.” Currently Paganelli is going through the legal process to make it a nonprofit as well, while Jacobson is working to bring the club to Severna Park high school.
Jacobson elaborated on her role and varied responsibilities as president of FDO. “I plan and run the meetings along with my great officers’ help. I plan events. I am currently in contact with Dr Brassard, who is an FDO chair board member and kind of acts as our liaison from the high school to the hospital.”
On Wednesday, December 19, the club is going on a Pediatric ER and NICU tour at Anne Arundel Medical Center. When FDO isn’t going on field trips, it often brings in guest speakers to meetings. “I reach out, along with the other officers, to different medical professionals to get them together to speak at our meetings during Bruin Block,” Jacobson explained. In the past, Broadneck’s athletic trainer Brandee Hartz has come in to speak to the club.
FDO’s vice president, Lilly Kidd, also shared her responsibilities as an officer. “I pretty much am learning the ropes of things from Erica,” she admitted, “and helping to prepare for events in any way I can.”
Club member Gabi Wikar said she joined the club due to her interest in physical therapy. “I’ve been interested in physical therapy for a while because of past injuries and injured teammates on the cross country team.” She added, “I also knew a few cross country teammates in FDO who had said lots of good things about it.” Wikar hopes to learn about the classes and requirements that are necessary and helpful for the career she wants, and to learn more about opportunities and options in her future.
The Future Doctors Organization’s mission is to give physician-striving students “local, low-cost, and comprehensive use of the medical field and healthcare through mentor-guided exposure and medical opportunities,” according to Jacobson. Through this, she believes the club will prepare those interested in medicine for a future career. “FDO exposes students to different careers in the medical field and can help them decide— or at least have an idea— of what career path they want to take,” she added.
Jacobson said the club is also a great way for individual members to make connections with doctors and other medical professionals, which can lead to internships and shadowing opportunities. “Having connections can really help you in the field of medicine, or even any job, for that matter,” she advised.
Future Doctors Organization is on a clear path to reaching more people than ever before. If you are interested in pursuing a medical career, or want to learn more about life in the medical field, join Future Doctors Organization. Meetings are every other Thursday during maroon block in Mrs. Dobbs’ room.