From homeless to hometown physician, ECU graduate brings School of Medicine’s mission to life

“She settled in Western North Carolina because of her interest in bringing medical care to rural, poorer areas. She has an insight to that population that many doctors don’t.”The News & Observer, April 30, 2012

 Just like each of our Brody Medical Students, Dr. Leslie Smith’s insight is unique. This story of determination and success is so very special, because she used to be homeless. On a road of despair, a providential encounter with a Wake County nun helped her get the health care and hope she desperately needed. Today, this ECU Brody School of Medicine graduate returns the favor by caring for underserved populations in western North Carolina.

Earlier this week, the Raleigh News & Observer published a feature story detailing the life and accomplishments of Sister Helen Wright, a nun who ministered to Wake County’s urban poor. Sister Wright mentored Smith back then, helping lead her on a path to success.

 At age 38, Smith graduated from ECU’s School of Medicine. Today, she is an internist working in Boone. And we couldn’t help take notice of her incredible journey and story.

 The ECU School of Medicine mission is clear: to increase the supply of primary care physicians to serve the state, to improve health status of citizens in eastern North Carolina, and to enhance the access of minority and disadvantaged students to a medical education.

 As The News & Observer quote highlights, Dr. Smith is living out that mission today, and we are proud to call her an alumnus – another example of the best of Brody