Dr. Craig Jackson, Dean, School of Allied Heath at Loma Linda University (LLU) recently made an impactful visit with faculty and students in the Department of Allied Health at Oakwood University. This was a long-awaited visit to look at strategies to move the department forward through more collaborative efforts with both universities. Jackson’s visit was a full day of activities that began by “catching-up” with President Leslie Pollard, former colleague and associate at LLU. The remainder of the day included collaborative discussions with Dr. Flora Flood, Dean, School of Nursing & Health Professions; Ms. Mishael Cato Williams, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy; and Dr. Maxine Garvey, Chair, Department of Allied Health.
The highlight of the day, however, was Jackson’s motivational talk to students in the department. He visited two classes - Critical Thinking in Healthcare and Medical Terminology - where he connected with students pursuing careers in various Allied Health professions.
The son of a former OU Music professor and a former OU student himself, Jackson has a passion for Oakwood and its minority students who he wants to see take their place in society and the healthcare professions where they are so badly in demand. He admonished them to find their passion and stick with it, keep their eyes on the prize, stay internally motivated and persevere through difficulties. He also shared one of many experiences he had with a former student who struggled to make it, never gave up, got the help he needed, and is now one of the most sought after in his field in southern California.
Jackson went on to caution students that though the science and health-related courses are important for their future career path, the general education courses are equally important. He explained to “wide-eyed” students that these prepare them for the soft skills that employers are also looking for: communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. He shared his experiences travelling to Saudi Arabia and Japan, where LLU has Allied Health collaborations, and how these cultural exchanges impacted his own cultural sensitivity. He further advised students that similar exposures would likewise be beneficial to them in connecting with future patients and the development of excellent bedside manner.
He concluded that God gives us gifts so we can follow our passions and that OU is preparing them to use their gifts to benefit patients. At the close of the talk, Ms. Williams presented Jackson with an Oakwood University keepsake that he is sure to treasure for years to come.