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Nighttime view of Temple University Children's Medical Center Temple University Hospital in background, Kresge Hall (left) and Medical Research Building (right) in foreground Old Medical School building in foreground, Jones Hall, General Services building and Student Faculty Center to the right

OFFICE OF news communications

News Archive

HOLLYWOOD AGAIN BECKONS FOR SCHOOL OF MEDICINE GRAD

May 11, 2011

CONTACT: Renee Cree renee.cree@temple.edu

215-204-6522

 

Andy Newcomer.  Photo by Kevin Cook

Photo by Kevin Cook

 

It’s the classic L.A. story: Midwest boy from the farm has big Hollywood dreams. He lands a great job in the film industry, and he’s on his way to stardom. But for Andy Newcomer, Hollywood wasn’t enough. After spending five years in production and development for television shows and movies, he decided to enroll in the post-baccalaureate program at the University of Southern California, which provided him with the science background he needed to get into medical school. He chose to come to Temple, where he became involved in a host of community service projects, including Bridging the Gaps, through which he helped provide basic health care services to the homeless population in Philadelphia. Now, he’s preparing to head back to Los Angeles — but this time, as a pediatric resident at UCLA.

 

Temple Times: Going from Sunset Boulevard to North Broad Street is quite a transition. Why did you decide to switch gears?

 

Andy Newcomer: I was having a great time in Los Angeles, and I loved what I was doing. I was out there for about five years. But I could see that some of my mentors — industry veterans — weren’t happy with what they were doing. They were worn down by the industry and felt discouraged. I didn’t want that. One of my mentors, a screen writer, had parents who were both doctors, and they absolutely loved what they did. They were happy and fulfilled every day. My mother was a nurse and I remember her feeling the same way. And I wanted to be a doctor before I wanted to get into the film industry, so it seemed like the perfect time to make that transition.

 

TT: How did your fellow classmates react to your Hollywood background?

 

AN: It’s interesting; I actually tried to keep that part of myself under wraps because I wanted to be taken seriously. I didn’t tell anyone at first, but then I was sort of outed by Dean Daly. We had orientation, and he said something like, “We’ve got people from all walks of life here. We’ve even got someone from Hollywood!” But once that happened, everyone was very accepting of it.

 

TT: Why did you choose to come across the country to Temple?

 

AN: I’m an older student, so I think my criteria in looking for a medical school were a little different. I wanted a place where I would feel welcome and not brushed aside because I was maybe a little older than my classmates. Temple was excited to have me, and they’ve made me feel so welcome — it was a natural fit. Also, a commitment to service was a big draw for me, and I was impressed by how involved Temple was in its surrounding neighborhoods.

 

TT: You’ve been very involved with community service projects during your time here.

 

AN: It’s important as doctors to be aware of the social contexts of your patients — what they’re dealing with outside of your office. And what better way to do that than to get out into the community and find out what they’re going through first-hand?

 

TT: How will L.A. life differ for you now that you’re going back as a doctor?

 

AN: In certain ways, not much. The frenetic pace and the hours you work as a doctor are similar to the ones in the film industry. But I’ve already done the glitz and glamour thing. This time, I wanted to give back. That’s why I wanted to stay in primary care, rather than go into a subspecialty. I’m less concerned about prestige and money this time around and more concerned about doing good and useful work.