Donors in the Spotlight: Judy Riffle & Roxie Wiblin
Educational patient 'model', donor, Healthcare Immersion Program Alum
For Judy Riffle and Roxie Wiblin, supporting JOF is a family affair.
“I was having foot pain, so I became a patient model for a day at one of the JOF (teaching) clinics,” said Judy, Roxie’s mom. “It was great. They helped me diagnose some plantar fasciitis and another problem with my foot.
“The experience of watching these seasoned nurses learning was awesome for me … as well as the free diagnosis.”
That experience inspired Judy to attend several of JOF’s Canes Film Festival & Gala events as a donor -- and to tell Roxie about our Healthcare Immersion Program, a unique career-exploration and clinical shadowing program for college students held each summer.
“I wanted to be pre-med and was interested in the healthcare field, and my mom said, ‘here’s an application,’” said Roxie. “The rest is history.”
Not only was Roxie, then a senior at the University of San Diego, accepted into the 2020 program, she went on to complete it successfully and even won the program’s student film competition with her short video, “Stay Active.”
“It’s a really cool way to get exposure to medicine in a way you wouldn’t otherwise have access… to see the whole chain from surgeon to primary care,” Roxie said of the HIP program.
Roxie said HIP also helped inspire a possible new career direction in orthopedics. “I love kids and had been thinking about doing pediatrics, but actually seeing orthopedic surgeons work, and seeing all the different steps involved in healthcare, from the physical therapists to the nurse practitioners to the surgeon, all the way up the food chain -- it was really cool to see every single step of the process.”
Since participating in the HIP program, Roxie -- an All American college volleyball athlete -- has graduated from USD, and has been recruited as an outside hitter for first-division professional volleyball team VfB Suhl LOTTO Thuringia in Germany (The Wolves). She also has completed the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in preparation for applying to medical schools in the future.
“That’s the large plan: to play volleyball until I can’t anymore, maybe come back to the States to do a year of research, and then fill out all my applications. I’m hoping my professional career in volleyball will help with my professional career in medicine,” she said. “Who doesn’t want a professional athlete on their staff?” she joked.
For Judy, who comes from a career in nonprofits, she says she’ll continue to support JOF, and encourage other donors to join her. “A wise friend advised me to ‘give in your local community, give to the good work you see right in front of you,’ and that spurred my interest in donating to JOF’s education mission.
“They do such fantastic work and I’m happy to support them,” she said.
Judy said JOF’s unique approach to training clinicians of many specialties in orthopedic skills was compelling. “I’ve gotten a little bit fascinated with orthopedics because there’s a lot of the science of medicine in it. Not enough doctors (and other clinicians) are educated on orthopedics and thinking that it’s nurses who train them is a very effective way to help the knowledge process.