Dr. John Striet

Dr. John Striet is a local man who has a huge impact halfway across the world. Dr. Striet is a retired Gynecologist who is one of the founders and the president of the Kigali Medical School in Rwanda. We sat down with Dr. Striet and listened to his journey to being president of this medical school, which was impressive and admirable.

Dr. Striet, as a young man, had a fleeting thought of becoming a doctor, never envisioning he would have such an important role in Rwanda. He began in a print shop known as Carnegie Print and later attended Carnegie Tech to study print. He had thoughts of attending WestPoint until a roommate of his asked him about medical school. That’s when the thought really crossed his mind. He decided to transfer to Union College and eventually to Albany Medical to study medicine. He decided upon Gynecology because of how natural it felt and the feeling that he got during surgery.

When Dr. John Striet retired he was at a party chatting to some friends when a friend of his mentioned something about medical missions to Rwanda. A year later he got a call to go on a trip and of course accepted. Dr. Striet said the funny part about it was that he didn’t remember the conversation about Rwanda at all. Even so, he jumped at the opportunity to do something so special. In 2000 he took his first trip to Rwanda to help fix a condition known as cleft pallet. After 6 years of the medical missions he was asked to help with this medical school project. He was humbled by the thought that they wanted him to be president; he accepted the roll and has been president since. The construction of the Kigali Medical School began in 2006. It will open in 2011.

This interview was very enriching. We learned a lot about the Rwanda and the difference in our cultures. Dr. Striet showed us pictures and I think he enjoyed telling his story as much as we did listening to it. Dr. Striet enjoys working with the Rwandans and helping them with his medical missions as well as being the president of the medical school. It was interesting to learn so much about this man who lives so close to our community but has lasting impacts half way around the world.

Article by Luke Alvord and Hannah Moore

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