Elie Ata ’12, Resident Physician, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
“I remember and live Merrimack College’s mission - enlighten minds, engage hearts, and empower lives - not only did I use it for my own benefit, I use it to enlighten, engage, and empower patients to be advocates for their own health.”
As an undergraduate, Elie joined the Merrimack Community as an honor’s student, and through this program was able to work with the Corpus Christi House in Lawrence, Mass. This was Elie’s first exposure to terminal and chronically ill patients, as he helped translate paperwork and explain the nature of their disease to patients.
“Working with these populations was very difficult and emotionally taxing, and it always left me wanting to do more. I found my calling by going into medicine, to be on the forefront by making sure patients are not left in the dark or lost with their health and care plans.”
He went on to pursue graduate school at Central Michigan University College of Medicine, where he was part of their inaugural class. Out of sixty-four students, Elie was one of four out-of-state graduates.
“Merrimack played an immense role in this decision, as I was part of the inaugural Honors Program class at Merrimack and that gave me insight on how students could be a resource for developing and creating a program that faculty, staff, administration, and students could be happy with and provide feedback on how to improve and grow.”
Elie is currently a resident family medicine physician just a stone’s throw away from the Merrimack campus, at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Lawrence, Mass.
“The residency program is very unique and innovative. We develop competencies in outpatient clinic care, inpatient care, pediatric medicine, and obstetrics. The residency lets you develop the skills you are interested in with areas of concentration, which include addiction medicine, HIV care, surgical obstetrics, health systems management, women’s health, and behavioral health.”
How did your experience at Merrimack help you as a professional?
I remember one of my very first hours as an undergrad, in one of my very first classes, we were working with Plato’s Apology and Socrates’ famous quote “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s really hard to make philosophy memorable for a science major, but somehow it stuck. Every now and then I find myself remembering the quote, examining my decisions and how I live day to day and try to find one or two ways to improve and with this I find myself growing and learning every single day.
What is the best advice you could give current Merrimack students?
Enjoy yourself, it’s the last four years where you’ll still get a summer break.
Learn as much as you can, and I would say more importantly not all education happens in the class room, make sure to always look for those places to grow and examine your life and decisions.
What is your Favorite Merrimack memory?
My favorite Merrimack memory isn’t even a memory, and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s the friends and connections that I made while I was at Merrimack. I’m still in touch with faculty, administration, and fellow students that I met during my four years at Merrimack.