SMP Testimonials

What our Senior Mentors have to say:

Mr. Walter Melfi

Born in here in Charleston, Walter Melfi and his wife, Ann, are both Senior Mentors. Mr. Melfi joined the Senior Mentor Program to share his experiences to help students working with seniors. He advises his medical students to avoid having presumptions about the elderly and to, "practice their medicine on senior citizens, starting now." He would like to see the physicians of the future be open to each patient they encounter.

Mrs. Mary "Chance" Scrantom

Mrs. Scrantom is an active Senior Mentor with multiple sets of students. Coming from a family of doctors, she advises that future physicians remember that they are not just healers, but should also be compassionate and personal. She believes the Senior Mentor Program is a very worthwhile program and "will lead future doctors to be more personable with the elderly."

Lizzie Madison

Ms. Madison feels good about aging and enjoys the students she mentors. While she has enjoyed the service of really good doctors, she has also had experiences with doctors who are "brusque." Therefore, Ms. Madison advises medical students to, "be patient with your patients, and to listen to what they are saying."

Bette Fogle

Bette Fogle is a proud and energetic participant in the Senior Mentor Program. She looks forward to the relationship developing with her students and very much enjoys being a part of the program. Mrs. Fogle said, "I feel they will learn a lot from me. Medically speaking, I have had an interesting life. I also believe that you need to do for others and have a positive attitude."

What our Students have to say:

Ben Kalivas

"Regarding the aging population, I believe that the ability to care for and assist this population will be very important to physicians. The size of this population will be greater than ever before. In addition, the medical advances are prolonging life to lengths that will present unique challenges to physicians of my generation. I think the Senior Mentor Program has done an excellent job in beginning to prepare my colleagues and I for these challenges to come."

John Bingham

John has an excellent relationship with his grandparents, but was not certain what to expect when beginning this program. He was a bit anxious about meeting his Senior Mentor, but the more he learned about her, the more he discovered how little he knew before. "I am learning a lot from her and truly appreciate her openness and honesty."

In the amount of time he has been involved in the Senior Mentor Program, his perspective has absolutely changed concerning the elderly. Interacting with his senior mentor has caused John to reflect upon his own life and attitudes in ways he did not expect. "This experience will enable us (medical students) to have a full perspective, which will hopefully encompass the entire patient population facing us in the near future."

Shakaria Johnson, MD/MHA

"When I was a little girl, my grandfather always told me, "When you become a doctor, make sure that you know how to take care of my toe." I would always say in return, "Of course granddaddy. If I don’t take care of your foot, who will?" I don't fully understand the wisdom that my grandfather imparted in telling me that time and time again nor did I understand the significance of my reply. I have been charged to learn how to care for more than feet. My grandfather and my experience in public health influenced me to not only devote my life to learning how to clinically treat disease, but also, to genuinely care for all people regardless of how great or small their condition may seem. I’ve yet to decide on a specialty, but I am certain of being equipped to treat seniors with the same compassion, competency and respect that I will with my own grandaunts and granduncles. If no one else does, who will?"