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Corey Brisseau ‘10 credits Human Development and Family Studies for  broadening his perspective and cultivating his desire to bring solutions to health issues and common preventable diseases.



Corey Brisseau ‘10 is a third-year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. His journey toward medicine began as a child growing up in Brooklyn, New York. His eyes were opened to the degree of suffering found in a community engaged in maladaptive behaviors. Gang violence, crime, dirty syringes, and empty drug packets, all riddled the community and destroyed families. The injustices in his neighborhood and his family dynamics challenged him, but support came through his childhood physician. His physician’s commitment to caring for hurting and isolated communities encouraged Corey profoundly and inspired him to pursue medicine to care for the underserved. 

With his dream of caring for the underserved, Corey studied Health and Human Development and Studies (HDFS). HDFS fascinated him since learned about how experiences in childhood could impact health across a lifespan and he related that to medicine. Instead of a myopic view of just meeting physical needs, HDFS allowed Corey to study how health issues may not always begin as physical but are a physical manifestation of contributing emotional, spiritual, behavioral, and social factors. HDFS broadened Coreys perspective and cultivated his desire to bring solutions to the health issues and common preventable diseases.

While in college, Corey did have some doubts about if his dreams could be accomplished. As a black male, he believed medicine was unattainable for him since it was not the norm in his community. However, he was referred to the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), an organization that strives on helping minority students achieve their goals of healthcare. Once he became a member, he began to feel encouraged as he met other students who dreamed of medicine and physicians who looked like him. Corey then became President of Penn State SNMA chapter to assure others that no matter how hard the journey toward medicine may be, with persistence, it can be achieved.

Corey’s journey afforded him the opportunity to have many valuable experiences. He spent several years working on a community outreach team in North Philadelphia to address the health needs of communities. He believes conducting outreaches revealed the importance of addressing and repairing systemic issues to effectuate change. Doing outreaches led to him becoming a medical missionary in different parts of Haiti and Africa. Serving in different countries further equipped Corey with the skill of communicating cross-culturally, as he worked to bridge cultural and language barriers using written words, a reassuring presence beside those hurting, and listening to others during bouts of pain. 

Certainly, Corey has had some struggles that have tested him, but his perseverance to become a physician and to serve others is evident. He believes his upbringing developed his strength to succeed and enhanced his ability to be sensitive toward others. Ultimately, he wants to see marginalized communities restored and healed through preventative care interventions and comprehensive care plans. Hence, being a physician will further his mission of caring for others and empowering them to become change agents in their journey toward optimal health and wholeness.