The Success Story of Carolyn Gaulden

Carolyn Gaulden’s path to becoming a doctor has not been a smooth one. As a medical student in Michigan, Carolyn was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and required a wheelchair. Though her classroom learning was unaffected by her diagnosis, once Carolyn moved into clinical rotations, professors told her she looked weak, was too slow, and couldn’t keep up with the program. Some went as far as to liken her disability to the patients she was treating …and not in a positive way.

Carolyn Gauldent wearing a white coat and stethoscope around her neck

Rather than get discouraged, Carolyn moved on, finding a program in Chicago where she could complete her work and get her medical degree. As she awaited her resident assignment, Carolyn decided she needed a job for living expenses and to begin paying off student loans. Once again, Carolyn had trouble convincing hiring managers that she could do the job.

Working with a rehabilitation center’s employment counseling service, Carolyn came to The Lighthouse. Recognizing her talents and intelligence, we hired her to work as a Registration Agent in our UI Health Call Center in 2017.

A year later, while at work in the Call Center, Carolyn was notified of her placement in a psychiatric program in Detroit. Carolyn was overjoyed at The Lighthouse’s support. “We couldn’t have been happier that day. It was so great to see her dreams becoming a reality,” says Jeanette Bonzani, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at The Lighthouse.

In fact, Carolyn’s work at The Lighthouse prepared her for the challenges of psychiatric residency during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with patients over the phone in the Call Center acquainted Carolyn to the nuances that come with remote counseling. “Working at The Lighthouse helped me become more comfortable working with patients over the phone,” she says.

Now in her third year of residency, Carolyn was recently elected Chief Resident by her peers, a position in which she advocates for her team to ensure everyone is treated equally. She knows first-hand, just how important that is.

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