Ted and Kara Hunter are pursuing their medical degrees simultaneously.
Growing up, Ted spent most of his time in South America and Jamaica, serving as a missionary with his parents. Like his parents, Ted would first pursue a career in ministry by serving as a minister of religion in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands for several years. He completed his undergraduate studies at Northern Caribbean University (formerly West Indies College) in Jamaica, where he received a bachelor's degree in theology.
He came to Michigan in 1990, and earned two master's degrees from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, one in regligion and another in counseling psychology. After experiencing firsthand the needs of local people as a counselor, Ted decided to return to school and become a psychiatrist.
“My strong desire to improve the well-being of others was instilled in me at an early age by my multicultural parents, who worked as missionaries in South America and Jamaica,” he said. “In addition, these experiences fostered my ability to navigate cultural differences and interact with sensitivity with people from various backgrounds.”
Ted, 47, had helped many people while serving as counselor, but he felt there was more he could do. “Although my training prior to medical school provided me with the tools to address the psychological and social factors involved in psychopathology, I lacked the training and expertise necessary to address biological contributions. For this reason I returned to school to pursue a medical degree.”
Originally from Battle Creek, Mich., Ted chose Wayne State University because of its exceptional training and facilities, affordability, patient diversity, commitment to the local community and the opportunity to be close to his family.
Like her Father, Kara Hunter also possessed an affinity for helping others. However, unlike her father, Kara grew up locally in Michigan. The first-year medical student completed her undergraduate work at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala.
Kara, 22, chose to attend WSU for its excellent educational program, extensive valuable clinical experience and the opportunity to be back in Michigan.
“I am also a little biased toward Michigan schools,” she said. “I grew up in Michigan and I have many fond memories of those years.”
While her father pursues a degree in psychiatry, Kara wants to practice internal medicine in Michigan. “It is important to be able to provide the population of Michigan with an adequate amount of primary care physicians so that the health needs may be more adequately met,” she said.
Although Ted is nearing the end of his time as a medical student and Kara is just beginning hers, they are using this unique opportunity to grow closer.
“The shared experiences provide opportunities to communicate at an even greater level than before,” Ted said. “We already have a great relationship, but there is something special about having shared experiences facilitated by attending the same school at the same time. Being able to talk about our joys and sorrows, successes and failures, and dreams for the future within a familiar context I think is significant.”
Ted provides Kara with an extra resource of educational materials and a source of encouragement.
“Going to school with him will be good because he will motivate me not only to focus and concentrate on my studies, he will also be there whenever I need someone to talk to about any issue that I may be going through,” she explained.
Upon graduating, Ted plans to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist. In addition to his work as a psychiatrist, he would like to advocate for mental health parity and reduce some of the stigma associated with mental illnesses. He also plans to volunteer abroad and at local clinics to help uninsured families.
Kara plans to be an internist in Michigan. She would also like to work with Doctors Without Borders and provide help for people regardless of their location or economic status.