Dan Lamb, a former Hillsboro resident, has achieved success despite facing numerous obstacles.
A former resident of Hillsboro, Lamb told The Times-Gazette he grew up in poverty.
“Being brought up poor and being brought up in Hillsboro — it’s a small town, but it’s a small town of good, hard-working people,” Lamb said. “Growing up there taught me to never underestimate hard work because it’ll take you places you could never dream. I never would’ve never dreamed that I would become charge nurse at Cleveland Clinic, which is the number two hospital in the nation.”
Lamb said he was inspired to become a physician at an early age.
“I always wanted to become a physician so I could help patients, especially having been a trauma patient myself,” Lamb said. “I know what it’s like, laying there wondering if you’re going to die.”
When Lamb was 13, he fell out of a tree stand and broke his arm and two vertebrae in his back.
”I was on Panhandle Road, and EMS had me in the back of the ambulance, cutting my clothes off. They took me to Children’s Hospital. I think my love for emergency medicine kind of landed there,” Lamb said. “There was this emergency doctor when they rolled me into Children’s. I just remember him leaning over me and telling me that I was going to be alright. I just looked into his eyes, and I could feel that trust and know that he was knowledgeable and would take care of me, and it would be OK. I feel like just that safety and trust in the emergency doctor made a lasting impact.”
Lamb was at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati for about a week and a half, but he was in a body cast for about nine months. It took about a year and a half of followup appointments before he fully recovered.
When Lamb started attending Southern State Community College in 2011, he struggled to adjust initially because his parents had home-schooled him throughout grade school.
“Neither of my parents graduated high school,” Lamb said. “It created significant challenges for me, not only academically but socially, that I continue to struggle with to this day.”
Lamb was failing his courses at SSCC when Janet Knauff, a psychology instructor at SSCC, referred him to Jackie Potts, a tutor at SSCC at the time. Lamb credits Knauff and Potts for teaching him how to study.
“A lot of people there at Southern State, if they’re a struggling kid like I was, they’re kind of scared to go seek tutoring, and it’s really not that bad,” Lamb said. “If I would’ve never sought tutoring at Southern State, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”
While Lamb was at SSCC, Michael Cole, a chemistry instructor, and Dr. Terence Lawman, a biology instructor, helped pique his interested in the sciences and helped him confirm that he wanted to become a physician.
Lamb worked as a manager at the Hillsboro McDonald’s up until his last semester at SSCC, sometimes sleeping in his car in between classes. Lamb also did clinical rotations as a nurse at Highland District Hospital, where he was born. When he graduated from SSCC in 2014, he worked in Kettering Health Network’s ICU and attended school at the University of Cincinnati, from which he graduated in 2015.
Now, Lamb is in his second year at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, and he works as a charge nurse in the Cleveland Clinic’s emergency department. His coursework is part of a program that focuses on caring for patients in urban regions, who may live below the poverty level, especially those who don’t have access to a health care provider. His goal is to become an emergency physician once he graduates.
“After I finish medical school, I want to train in an urban region, just because you get exposed to so much trauma and such,” Lamb said. “After that, who knows. I think it would be kind of cool to come back to Highland District Hospital and work for a few years, having been born there and trained as a nurse there. Maybe I’ll come back and work later in life there. I’m always open to new opportunities.”
Lamb said growing up below the poverty level affects the way he approaches treating a patient.
“Growing up poor also taught me to really care for the patient,” Lamb said. “With my own life experiences, I know what it’s like when you don’t have money to go to the doctor or to pay for medications. It kind of gives me a different perspective. If I can think of writing a different drug or somehow finding a discount for a patient, I will.”
Lamb said that if it weren’t for the scholarships at SSCC, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
“I know some local people give to SSCC,” Lamb said. “It really does help make a difference. Hopefully someday, when I’m finished with all my education and training, I can do the same.”
Lamb said that if he could speak to the 13-year-old Daniel Lamb who was in a body cast, he would say, “Whatever you face in life may be challenging, and you may think it’s the end, but don’t give up hope. Hope for a better tomorrow.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.