Shamone Gore Panter, a 43-year-old mother of four from Cleveland, Ohio, recently began medical school at the age of 40.
When most people think of medical school, they often think of a fresh-faced student just out of college. However, a mother of four is proving that it is never too late to pursue a dream, as she recently began medical school at the age of 40. Shamone Gore Panter never expected that an innocent phone call from her pregnant niece would change her life. But when her niece asked about the COVID-19 vaccine, she realized that she wanted to go to medical school and help people like her niece receive accurate information and good care. “I thought, ‘This is what I need to be doing every day. I want to go to medical school,’” the 43-year-old from Cleveland tells TODAY.com. “I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to do it.”
Gore Panter had considered medical school back in 2007 but was intimidated by the idea of taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). For years, she watched Black people struggle to receive proper medical care and thought, “That could be me.” With the support of her co-worker, she took a practice test and scored higher than 500, the threshold to take the actual MCAT. She applied to and got accepted into a three-year program between Ohio University and the Cleveland Clinic.
Gore Panter will graduate in 2025 and is currently balancing medical school with parenting. Her husband is supportive and her family helps by preparing meals and taking care of the children when Panter is busy. She is a mom of four, ranging from ages 7 to 20. She tries to stay in touch with her children and make time for them, even if she can’t be there in person. “It is an intense three years because we do the same thing as everyone else but then with the added stuff on top,” she says. “We get to see patients every week. … That part is really invaluable because it helps us to solidify the things that we’re learning in class.”
“My husband’s really supportive and that helps a lot. And family support as well,” she says. “I (just) try to be very organized.” Panter was motivated to pursue a career in family practice because she believes people share the most information with their family doctors. Additionally, the death of her sister Shan due to heart disease reinforced her conviction. She hopes that by being a Black family physician, she can help Black people have more trust in medicine and have access to good care.
Gore Panter is an inspiring example that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. “It doesn’t matter how old you are,” she says. “If you’re still alive, you can go try and do it. That could be a major regret if you don’t even try.”