Kent Powell, MD

There is a place in New Hampshire, only minutes off of Interstate 89.  It is a small town of just over 14,000 residents, and lies East of the Connecticut River.  The locals named it Lebanon in the late 1700’s, and after the old mill plant closed, Lebanon turned its profits to education and medical services.

In the heart of Lebanon, New Hampshire is the historical Dartmouth -Hitchcock Medical Center.  This medical facility is the fourth oldest in the United States, and is affectionately known for having the first intensive care unit, and the first clinical x-ray.

If you are ever lucky enough, or unlucky enough, to be at DHMC, chances are you might happen into Kent Powell, MD.  He is an Internal Medicine Staff Physician, the Program Director of the Primary Care Track of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, an Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine.

All of Kent’s credentials are inspiring, yes, but his beginnings at Illinois Central College hold much more inspiration for following his dreams, considering that at one point Kent was a high school drop-out.  Kent recalls emotionally, “As a high school drop-out, my educational options were limited, and I felt that ICC would be a good place to start my education.  I thought perhaps I would pursue nursing because I did not feel I had it in me to pursue my true dream of becoming a physician.”

One of the most wonderful, and yet largely unknown, virtues of ICC, is that it gives you a chance to fail, and to find out what direction in life you want to pursue.  Not all higher education schools offer so many valuable tools for a successful future.  For many past students, a moment in time is all it takes to change one’s life forever.  Kent wastes no time explaining his moment in time, “ICC changed my life forever, with one simple conversation.  This was with an instructor of mine.  His name is Dean Beckwith, and he encouraged me to follow my dream of becoming a doctor, even when I doubted myself.”

Dean had asked many questions of Kent, including his plans upon graduating ICC.  “I told Dean that I would perhaps pursue my BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing).  Dean encouraged me, in addition to this, to at least get my PhD, because anything below a doctorate level would be a waste of my intelligence.”  That simple vote of confidence was enough to open Kent’s eyes, and make him realize that he could in fact become a physician, if he continued to work hard.

In addition to his professional successes, Kent’s personal ones are even more important to him.  “To be honest, the moments I am most proud of are all the moments I am able to watch my children succeed.  My oldest is now being recruited by colleges, and my youngest is winning gymnastic meets, and becoming a state champion.  There is nothing else in my life, even professionally, that compares.”

While reflecting over his successes, failures, and ultimate triumphs, Kent gave an emotional, and of course, positive personal view on life, “Never let anyone or anything knock you down.  Just by being at ICC, you have a chance to succeed at reaching your dreams.  Remember to work hard in every class, and try to learn as much as you can, even if not in your chosen field.  Everything you learn makes you a more well-rounded person.  You never know when you may be able to have an in-depth conversation with a future friend, client, customer, or patient.  Your well-rounded education will allow you to speak on a topic that is not in your field, making that interaction more meaningful for you both.

These eloquent words spoken by Kent Powell, reminds us to never give up on our dreams.  No matter the obstacle, even if it be ourselves, we should dream the dreams of Gods, and strive to make them, always, a reality.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

By ICC Student Intern, Ben Lainhart

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