Louisville Medicine Volume 66, Issue 2 - Page 39

DR. Who MEMBER SPOTLIGHT JONATHAN WEEKS, MD Aaron Burch F or Dr. Jonathan Weeks, being a physician wasn’t certain from day one, but he was drawn to the sciences and to helping people from a very young age. Those traits would take him much further than he could anticipate. “When I was five, my younger sister and I went through a spell where we had all these childhood diseases in close proximity. Chick- en pox, measles, I had the mumps. We had to go to the doctor, and something must have impressed me about those encounters,” Dr. Weeks said. “I remember my mother asking me what I wanted to be shortly after, and I said, ‘I want to be a doctor.’” Dr. Weeks’ mother, Edna, was a teacher and the first college grad- uate in her family. She encouraged her son to follow his dreams and made certain he was going to get a college education. “My mother said, ‘Doctors are important people. They help others feel better. But, everyone can’t be a doctor. You’ve got to work really hard in school, get good grades, and then you can decide to be a doctor.” Growing up in Lexington in the early 1960s, Dr. Weeks rode the school bus with his mother when the weather was cold. “I loved the sounds of the bus, the doors opening, the hydraulic brakes. I’d sit there as a little kid and mimic the sounds,” Dr. Weeks said. “So, the next time my mother asked me what I wanted to be, I said a bus driver. She replied, ‘Bus drivers are really important, because they allow people to get from place to place. But, bus drivers don’t have to go to college, and you’re going to college. After you go, if you want to be a bus driver, then you can.’ She was very matter of fact.” He continued, “That story sticks with me, because I learned two big lessons in those conversations. The first was: You can do anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it. The other was: There’s no job that doesn’t have dignity.” Dr. Weeks moved with his family from Lexington to Long Is- land, New York at the age of 10. His father was in the Air Force, so the Weeks family was uprooted from their Old Kentucky Home to the West Hampton Beach Air Force Base. “We spent two years at the base,” Dr. Weeks recalled. “There were lots of different kids and playgrounds. It was a suburban area, and easy to get together to start a baseball or football game.” New York would be Dr. Weeks’ home for many years. He gradu- ated from William Tresper Clarke High School in 1975 and stayed in the area for a few years to attend Nassau Community College. His family didn’t have a lot of money, and he knew his sister would be following just a year behind him. “In retrospect, I could have made more efforts for scholarship money, but I didn’t know much about the process. After two years of community college, I moved away to attend Biscayne College in Miami, Fla. It was fairly inexpensive, and I received a small schol- arship to play tennis while I was there,” he said. Although he didn’t pick up a racket until his junior year of high school, tennis came naturally. “I was really thin and really quick. When I made up my mind to be some place on the court, I was instantly there. I did well unless my opponent figured out I couldn’t hit more than three or four volleys in a row. Then they’d beat me.” Dr. Weeks’ time in Miami was one of self-assessment. Class, tennis, friends, work: that was where the days often went. He still wanted to become a physician, but his confidence had wavered. “I had this impression that you must be unbelievably smart to be a doctor. I knew I was capable, but I thought being capable was a completely different skill,” he explained. Encouraged by Professor Paul Weiser, whom he saw across multiple science courses due to the small size of Biscayne College, (continued on page 38) Editor’s Note: Welcome to Louisville Medicine’s member spotlight section, Dr. Who? In the interest of simply getting to know each other as a society of colleagues, we’ll be highlighting random GLMS physicians on a regular basis. If you would like to recommend any GLMS physician member to the Editorial Board for this section, please e-mail [email protected] or call him at 736-6338. JULY 2018 37