By Alexandra Lund

As a junior pre-medical student at Dordt University, I spend a lot of time thinking about why I want to practice medicine. So far, I have come up with a two-fold answer. I love medicine because I love people’s stories. I want to pursue medicine because of its tangibility. But as a Christian, I know that my desire springs from a much deeper well: faith. I want to be a doctor because it is the best way I know how to fulfill God’s call to love my neighbor. 

However, this summer I have been exposed to a completely new way of expressing that love. At Iowa IPL, I witnessed people of faith earnestly seeking to live out their calling to love their neighbors through climate action. Seeing that led me to think, how can I incorporate climate action and my passion for medicine? 

Well, the short answer is, I’m not completely sure yet. But the one thing I do know is that it is vital. This summer has given me the tools to see that my love cannot only exist in a hospital. As a Christian, and as a future doctor, I am called to much more. 

I am called to care for the people I serve directly, but also their communities and environments. Although I don’t exactly know what this will look like, I have a few concrete ideas. 

First, I am excited to head back to my own campus and work with a variety of student organizations to expand the scope of sustainability at my school. I want other students to see, as I have, that sustainability can be incorporated into and enrich other vocations

Second, I want to include climate action and other public health issues in my medical school studies. I believe that public health education is a vital part of my education as a future physician and hope to attend a school that reflects that belief. 

Finally, in my future career, I plan to be active not only in the clinic, but also the public health sector. Whether that means opening a pop-up clinic in a nearby community or using my voice to advocate for climate justice, I plan to actively seek out ways to influence my community as well as my patients

The thing that most excites me about these plans is that neither pathway excludes the other. I will be a better doctor because of my interest and passion for climate action and I will be a better activist because of my background and expertise in medicine. And most importantly, these interconnected passions will provide more pathways to show God’s love.  

Alexandra Lund is a junior Biology major at Dordt University and future physician who is from San Diego, California.