Alumni Spotlight on Dammun Pierce ’90: Reaching His Potential
“When my mother told me where babies come from,” says Dammun Pierce, “I was like, ‘No way! You’ve got to be kidding me. That does not happen.’” Dammun is now a physician in obstetrics and gynecology on the staff of Virginia Hospital Center and a Clinical Professor at Georgetown University Hospital.
Apart from his boyhood reaction to the birth process, Dammun had other reasons for going into medicine. “I wanted to do something that was going to contribute to society, and I have a deep interest in science. Medicine happened to fit both of my major interests, which were doing science and working with people.”
After earning a BA in computer science from Colgate and a BS in biology from Old Dominion, when it was time to choose a medical school, Dammun opted for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathy is based on the principle of treating the whole person, he says. “You’re not treating a disease associated with a person, but treating a person associated with a disease. That’s really my philosophy of medicine.” His staff occasionally has to prod him along, he says, because he asks a lot of questions of his patients, spending time just getting to know them.
When asked about the best and worst aspects of his job, he’s quick to answer: “Every time I deliver a baby, it’s always a wonderful experience. Even though I’ve done it over a thousand times, it’s still different and special with each one.” As to the worst, he says it’s dealing with the health care system as a whole. “It’s hard to look at the injustice that a lot of people without health-care insurance face on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “I love my profession. It’s the business that’s the tough part.” As part of his profession, he practices at a prenatal clinic for under-served populations and mentors young doctors.
“Shipley,” he said, “has done wonders for me. If it wasn’t for a place like Shipley, I probably would not have reached a level of potential that gave me the opportunity to become who I am… Now looking back, I’m very, very happy and pleased that I was able to take advantage of what there was to offer and that Shipley decided to give a chance to a little kid from North Philly.”
"If I could offer one pearl of advice to the Class of 2015, I would say 'let your personality find your purpose.'"
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.