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President’s Message

LTM & Boot Camp’s Phenomenal Success

July 11, 2023

By Dr. Craig Treptow


Joelle Machaalani, Talia Caridi, and Anthony Kemmer

As a Catholic physician or health care professional, how would you respond to a medical student or resident who asks you one or more of the following questions:

“How do I tell my Residency Director that I can’t prescribe birth control pills because I am Catholic?”

“How do I approach patients who demand that I use their preferred pronoun when it is different than their sex? Or work with administrators who demand that I do so?”

“How do I keep my spiritual life in tune with all of the demands of medical school?”

Medical students and residents posed those and many additional questions at last month’s 11th annual CMA Medical Student and Resident Boot Camp held at Ave Maria University. Drs. David Chen and Frank McNesby led this successful Boot Camp centered around authentically living one’s Catholic faith in today’s medical milieu. Students heard a variety of presentations from spiritual formation to gender ideology by CMA physician and lay experts.

This year we were pleased to have for the first time five international students –– from Canada, UK, and Philippines –– who joined dozens of students from across the United States. Our National Chaplain, Fr. Christopher Kubat, assisted by Fr. John Johnson, led daily liturgies and made the sacraments available for all attendees. From the Bishop’s 5K run and Eucharistic Adoration to nightly social events with games and a creative skit, the students quickly bonded. They grew in their collegiality and knowledge of what it could mean for them to be Catholic physicians.

Keynote speaker Dr. Grazie Christie

Our 2023 Leadership Training Meeting, in conjunction with Boot Camp, culminated in Dr. Grazie Christie’s keynote address.  A Florida radiologist, Dr. Christie was appointed to Florida’s Board of Education last year by Governor Ron DeSantis. Dr. Christie’s enthusiastic call to action to defend the Truth in our practices energized us. Many attendees remarked how this year’s presentations’ practicality for life in medical school and beyond was exceptional –– the best we ever had. I want to thank all of the presenters for volunteering their time and resources to be at the Boot Camp and LTM. I am especially grateful to Drs. Roy Heyne and Mary Keen for their organizational skills in putting this meeting together.

But perhaps the foremost fruits from these overlapping conferences were the spontaneous, informal interactions between students and those of us who are seasoned physicians. Students repeatedly expressed appreciation for their conversing with faithful Catholic physicians in an informal setting, asking questions from the practical to the ethical. “As iron sharpens iron” (Prov 27:17), such discussions at the evening social gatherings or over the dinner table are vital to Catholic physician formation, encouraging them so that they can make a difference as future Catholic leaders.

In reciprocity, the students’ passion and excitement re-invigorated physician attendees, helping them to look with fresh eyes at their medical careers. Both groups benefit immensely, and in those moments of connection, the CMA Mission is clearly fulfilled:

To form and support current and future physicians to live and promote the principles of the Catholic Faith in the science and practice of medicine.

As illustrated by the Boot Camp’s phenomenal success, students are hungry for mentorship. I invite you to reach out to your nearest Catholic medical student or resident. Invite them to dinner or coffee, if not to your local guild meeting–or both! Listen to these aspiring students and residents as they talk about their struggles and their triumphs of being in training. Be a mentor. You and the students you befriend will benefit from fulfilling the CMA Mission and Hippocratic Oath as we move forward together into this increasingly hostile and “post-truth” culture.


President Dr. Craig Treptow is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine and sees patients of all ages in Great Falls, Montana.

Please consider donating to the Medical Student and Resident Education Fund that makes it possible for students and residents to attend Boot Camp and the Annual Educational Conference. You generosity is much appreciated.