Biology Alum Combats Physician Shortages in Rural Indiana

Marin Garcia | Alumnus B.S. 2003; M.S. 2005 | Biology

The need for physicians in rural areas

In rural areas, physician shortages are common. With more than 20% of the US population but only 9% of physicians residing in rural areas, millions of Americans lack access to quality health care. As a family physician in rural Nashville, Ind., Dr. Marin Garcia is helping combat this shortage by helping patients who may otherwise not have easy access to care.

Garcia loves the scientific side of medicine – understanding disease and the human body at a molecular level –  but he says the most important part of his day as a physician is taking the time to listen and get to know his patients on a personal level.

“Medicine is about catching the little details,” Garcia said. “When life or death can be determined by small differences, it’s important to pay attention and really listen to what patients have to say.”

IUPUI opportunities lead to professional networks

The opportunities available to students made Garcia’s decision to attend IUPUI an easy one. Working in microbiology, molecular biology and psychology research labs allowed him to see what he learned in the classroom in real world situations.

“It was exciting working in labs because the things I had only read about in textbooks such as the structure of DNA molecules or cloning lines of cells was at the palms of my hands,” Garcia said.

Working in labs also gave Garcia the chance to be a part of scientific discoveries, such as a new treatment for alcoholism, and build strong mentor networks. One of Garcia’s mentors, Simon Rhodes, Ph.D., is now dean of the IUPUI School of Science.

“The School of Science is very proud that Dr. Garcia has built on his science and research training with us to establish such a successful career that serves the people of Indiana,” Rhodes said.

The importance of supporting science

Garcia serves more than just his patients. By donating to the School of Science, he helps the next generation of scientists succeed.

“The IUPUI School of Science is where I was given the opportunity to become a scientist,” Garcia said. “By putting money into science, breakthroughs can occur which advance our knowledge of the physical world and advance our understanding of medical illnesses.”