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Biology: Alumni Profiles

Meet Mark Rastetter, M.D.

The University of Dayton’s mantra of "Lead, Learn, Serve" is one that is repeated to its students many times during their time as undergraduates. The university hopes the message will guide students in both their current and future endeavors. For UD alumnus Dr. Mark Rastetter, “Learn, Lead, Serve” has become an integral part of his life.

Rastetter, who graduated from UD in 2002 with dual degrees in biology and religious studies, received his medical degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2006. While in medical school, he became involved with Physicians for Human Rights and began clinical work with underserved populations. Since finishing his residency in Family Medicine in 2009, Rastetter is now completing a fellowship in Maternal-Child Health that combines additional training in obstetrics and pediatric care. This fellowship allows Rastetter to continue to help the marginalized and poor, something he found a desire to do while still in Dayton.

"As a student at UD and then at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, I sought the type of education that would allow me to lead and serve effectively. I have always tried to use my skills to create a preferential option for the poor, a tenant of liberation theology and one I learned while at UD," he said.

"The education model that I experienced as a biology and religious studies major at UD, I feel pushes students to work hard and focus, but allows it to happen within a supportive community of students, faculty and staff…I sought that sort of model in my medical education and continue to seek it in the work that I do in my professional career."

Rastetter has also dedicated his time and skills through medical relief work in communities in Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean. Most recently, he worked in Malawi, Africa in March 2010 to help serve the mother and child population of the area. In January 2010 he traveled to Haiti, a country he first visited while as a UD student participating in a cultural and service immersion program, to assist victims of the 2009 earthquake.

Rastetter still considers the experiences he had at UD as an undergraduate to be defining moments in his career, and named Carissa Krane as a key mentor.

"I remember not only extensive discussions about my research projects, but also about ethics, human rights and becoming a physician," he said. "Dr. Krane continually encouraged me to explore the reasons I wanted to enter medical school and challenged me in my essays and personal statement. Looking back…those conversations proved to be some of the most important of my career."

Besides undertaking his fellowship and work abroad, Rastetter is also a clinical instructor in the family medicine department at Northwestern University, a position that also furthers his vocation to assist the impoverished.

"In this role, I have had the opportunity to work with medical students and have been involved in the creation of a new family medicine residency through Northwestern dedicated to the underserved," he said.


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