Cagney Roberson is a man on a mission. The junior natural science major from Coweta, Oklahoma, can be seen wearing number 15 on the Bison football team on Saturdays in the fall. As a wide receiver, he makes an impact catching the football. Yet, that’s not the only impact he makes these days.
As a student, Roberson has a passionate calling to one day become a primary care physician assistant working in a non-profit clinic. That dream came one step closer to reality this summer, as he gained first-hand experience working in three non-profit clinics through the Oklahoma Healthcare Undergraduate Internship. Roberson was one of only six students selected for the program across the state of Oklahoma.
“This internship has given me a chance to see the impact intentional and faith-based healthcare can make not only in the OKC area, but all across Oklahoma,” he said in a comment published online by the OK Healthcare Internship Facebook page. “It has also allowed for me to grow, and become more excited to pursue a career in healthcare.”
The internship program is sponsored by the Butterfield Memorial Foundation in partnership with the Consortium of Oklahoma Faith-Based Universities, including OBU, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oral Roberts University and Southern Nazarene University. Roberson was joined by fellow Bison Rachel Kelley, a pre-med student, in this summer’s internship.
According to the foundation website, students planning to become physicians, physician assistants or nurses are eligible to apply for the six-week summer Christian pre-healthcare internship program. Through Butterfield Foundation’s partnership with Open Arms Clinic, Good Shepherd Ministries and Crossings Community Clinic, all located in the Oklahoma City metro area, interns are given the opportunity to serve and interact with a diverse group of patients. The purpose of the program is to “motivate students to consider careers as advanced healthcare providers serving at-risk populations in Oklahoma.”
Students were chosen following a rigorous selection process. Applicants were selected by a committee of representatives from the Consortium of Oklahoma Faith-Based Universities. These representatives looked at the student’s desire to serve Christ with their career, whether as a nurse, physician’s assistant or physician; commitment to providing care in Oklahoma; academic performance; and previous experiences in the healthcare field.
The summer internship took place May 22-June 30, with the interns each spending time at all three of the faith-based clinics. The students spent time working hands-on using triage processes with patients while also shadowing different providers each day. They learned about the motivations that inspire the care providers and the great need for people to serve in these clinics. They likewise honed clinical skills and observed superb healthcare delivery, while experiencing the entire process of what faith-based medicine looks like in a non-profit clinic.
Roberson said the summer experience was invaluable and solidified his plans for the future.
“I learned the impact that charitable medicine has on the underinsured, and what it looks like. I also learned how faith-based practice can be incorporated in the medical field today and reach so many people. OBU prepared me for this experience by the emphasis that it places on incorporating faith in every walk of life.”
One of Roberson’s professors, Dr. Contessa Edgar, OBU assistant professor of biology, spoke about his strong commitment to academics and athletics.
“Many college students relax and recharge over the summer, but not Cagney,” she said. “When he describes his typical summer experience, it involves waking early to workout, attending class, going to work and participating in practice, usually all in a single day. He is a driven individual who cares deeply that his life’s work reflects the talents God has given him and that his career is meaningful to others and to himself. I am fortunate to watch his college career both in the classroom and from the stands.”
He attributes his success to the support and encouragement of many people in his life.
“I’m so blessed by so many people in my life, and without them to keep me grounded I wouldn’t be half the man I am today. My parents, Dr. Edgar, Dr. Chris Jones [dean of the Hurley College of Science and Mathematics at OBU], my football family, friends, and a lot more people at OBU. I’m ever so thankful for them all.”
Roberson has kept his goals simple for the year, both in the classroom and on the football field.
“I want to see more, do more, and be better. I just want be the best person I can be.”