The Sun – San Bernardino and the Inland Empire

by Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer

Losing vision was a life-changing event for Jeffrey Lawler on many fronts. He could no longer drive nor read his favorite books. He had lost the vital sense that brings beauty into one’s life.

But he gained focus, concentration and a mission in life. He transitioned from a mediocre student to one who excelled. For example, he discovered in blindness, that when someone read to him the complex molecular structures of organic compounds, he could retain the information and work complex reactions in his head.

Last week, he graduated from the four-year psychiatry residency program at Loma Linda University Medical School. Dr. Mary Ann Schaepper, director of the general psychiatry residency program, said Lawler is "extremely therapeutic in his interactions with patients." Accepting him into the demanding residency program was "a bigger challenge than either he or I could imagine," she said.

Schaepper praised Dr. Daniel Giang, a vice president of medical administration who supervises all residency programs at Loma Linda, for his support of her decision to take Lawler on as resident. She did so in part because she had been a resident under Dr. Michael Cummings, a staff psychiatrist at Patton State Hospital and former medical school professor at Loma Linda, who is also blind. He was her psychopharmacolgy professor during the residency program and she found him to be an inspiring mentor and a brilliant psychiatrist despite his blindness.

She also had confidence in the stamp of approval signified by his graduation with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. Read the full story >>