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Alum Named “Teacher of the Year” By Mayo Clinic Pediatric Students

Jason Homme ’95 works at Mayo Clinic as a researcher, faculty member in the College of Medicine and College of Graduate Medicine, pediatric residency program director, and pediatric physician.

Jason “Jay” Homme ’95 has all the time in the world. At least, he says he does. The researcher, faculty member at Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine & Science and School of Graduate Medical Education, pediatric residency program director, and pediatric doctor is, objectively, just about as busy as a person could be. But he maintains that his “vocation is like a vacation,” so he always has time to invest in his work.  

Likely, this passion for what he does is what moved Homme’s resident students to name him “Teacher of the Year in Pediatrics,” not once, but three times—earning him a plaque and a place in the Mayo Clinic Faculty Hall of Fame this spring. A photo of Homme hangs in the pediatric common area, alerting all who enter the facility of his accomplishments. But while Homme says the recognition “feels great,” his journey at Mayo from medical student to resident to doctor and faculty member has been about making a difference, providing for his family, and encouraging others to pursue their calling. “It’s enjoyable watching them grow and change,” Homme says of both his patients and his students. “[My job] isn’t easy…but it’s worth it.”

From the start, faith has been the main motivator behind Homme’s healthcare journey. In high school, Homme says a conversation with his mom spurred him to think about a career as a doctor. “She felt God might have created me to take care of people—His highest creation,” Homme says. He pursued the possibility by gaining experience working at a nursing home, where he discovered his mother was right. Homme says during that time he learned “we’re all valued exactly the same in God’s economy,” and through the years, that lesson has been a “great motivator” for him.

It’s no wonder that a student seeking to advance his vocation would consider Bethel from among a variety of other Christian colleges, but Homme says he chose Bethel because it stood out from the crowd. During his campus visit, Homme had the opportunity to sit one-on-one with the head of the biology department to talk about what his college journey would look like at Bethel. “[A while into our conversation], I learned he had gone to Harvard,” Homme says. “And I thought, ‘This man is so humbling and so inviting. If anyone else is half like him, then this is the place for me.’”

It was a decision he wouldn’t regret. While at Bethel, Homme says he learned “how to learn,” and that those skills served him well in the many years of school to follow his undergraduate education. He also says Bethel helped prepare him for his graduate studies—and even gave him an advantage—by teaching foundational lessons that many of his medical school peers hadn’t had previous exposure to. One such lesson came from the opportunity to work with cadavers in Professor of Biological Sciences Tim Shaw’s anatomy class—a unique facet of Bethel’s biology program.

Shaw says when he began teaching at Bethel 35 years ago, having a cadaver in the lab was unique on its own. Today, more undergraduate schools have come on board with having one available. But Bethel is still one of the only—if not the only—school where undergraduate students get the opportunity to dissect a body themselves. Like Homme, Shaw—who is also the biology department’s pre-medical advisor—believes this is an important part of preparing students for futures in the medical field. “When you spend time with a body at that level of intimacy, where you’re exploring all the pathology and what’s inside and holding the brain of somebody's whole lifetime in your hands—it’s an amazing experience,” Shaw says.

This spring, Homme once again had the opportunity to sit in on one of Shaw’s classes. His daughter, Emily ’20, was taking an anatomy class from Shaw, and Homme reveled in the nostalgia of sitting in the back of the classroom one day during a campus visit. “Bethel’s grown a lot since I was here,” he says. “It was Bethel College, and now it’s Bethel University. So there’s more students and more opportunities, but still the same great core values and personal interactions with professors and faculty.”

A Royal family through and through, Homme and his wife Rebecca “Becky” (Hess) ’95 have another daughter, Elizabeth ’19, currently attending Bethel. Their younger children are Justin, Ashley, Andrew, and Joy, who was adopted from Ghana—where Homme and his twin brother James ’94 have traveled numerous times over the past twelve years to participate in medical mission work. Medical missions are just one of the many ways Homme says anyone can make a difference in the world of healthcare.

“There are a wide array of opportunities,” he says, affirming the mission of Bethel’s Center for Healthcare Excellence and Digital Health Pathway. “Technology in medicine is huge…and if you really like the hands-on, face-to-face patient care, there’s a lot of ways to do that as well. It’s worth pursuing if that’s what you feel God is calling you to do.”

Learn more about Bethel’s Department of Biological Sciences, or reach out to Kristi Moline (kl-moline@bethel.edu) to find out how a student of any major can gain experience in the field of healthcare.

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