“My undergrad experience prepared me with the skills I need to work in healthcare. Patients come from all walks of life and social situations. If I had just studied one thing, I’d be missing a major part of the puzzle that you need to have to be an effective physician.” — Dr. Gregory Bechill ’90
Dr. Gregory Bechill was just a young lad when he developed a specific interest for health science. After a doctor’s visit, he found himself longing for a greater explanation of what was going on with his body.
“I was about to have a procedure and wanted to know more, but the physician told me I didn’t need to worry about it,” says Bechill, a 1990 graduate of Alma College. “That irritated me, so I carried that with me through high school. It generated my interest in human anatomy and biology.
“I knew that there had to be a better way to explain people’s bodies to them and let them know what’s happening in a manner that they can understand. My experience led me to want to change that.”
Bechill decided to stay in his hometown and attend Alma College.
“Alma College provided me with a chance to have close one-on-one interactions with faculty,” says Bechill. “I knew all of my professors by name and had requirements outside of my major, both of which made me an equipped graduate.”
Combining Sociology and Medicine
However, like many undergraduates who initially question his or her career path, Bechill debated whether or not the medical field was best for him. His father, Vern Bechill, was an Alma College sociology professor at the time. Gregory recalls being fascinated by the things his father would talk about and teach in class. He decided he needed to find a way to combine the two.
“I wanted to focus on biology but do it in synthesis with the sociology knowledge and skills I had picked up,” says Bechill. “Medicine was a great fit for that, so I pursued it.”
One of Bechill’s most memorable college moments was his trip out of the country during Spring Term – a journey that ultimately confirmed the medical field as the right career path for him.
“I had the opportunity to observe a healthcare clinic in rural Jamaica,” says Bechill. “Seeing how much need they had for healthcare allowed me to realize how privileged I was to have the education I had back home. It inspired me to come back to the United States and continue to follow my career path to healthcare.”
Reconnecting with Family, Mentors
After graduating from Alma, Bechill received his degree in osteopathic medicine from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio. He then went on to complete his residency in family practice at Mercy St. Vincent in Toledo.
A number of stops later, Bechill found his way back to Alma, the community where he grew up.
“Gratiot Family Practice was great to come home to,” says Bechill. “I was raised here, so some of the doctors at the practice were doctors I had known as a kid. It’s an honor to come back.”
For Bechill, the journey home means a chance to reconnect with family. It also allows him to connect with former mentors, faculty and current students at his alma mater.
“My undergrad experience prepared me with the skills I need to work in healthcare,” says Bechill. “Patients come from all walks of life and social situations. If I had just studied one thing, I’d be missing a major part of the puzzle that you need to have to be an effective physician.”