Andrew Furthmiller, 26, is a first-year medical student, who completed his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Purdue University. A former Procter & Gamble research and development employee, Furthmiller and his wife, Jessica, have a three-month son, named Noah. The family lives in Pleasant Ridge and are Cincinnati natives. They attend Crossroads Church.
What brought you to the College of Medicine?
"Medicine has been on my mind since high school, and there is not this defining awe-struck moment for me where I simply decided to be a doctor. Itís been a journey; itís been an ever growing passion for me. I knew that I liked problem solving, and that naturally lead me to engineering, which lead me to Purdue, and I really enjoyed Purdue University. Problem-solving also attracted me to medicine. Engineering sounded great, and I thought, ĎI can be happy with engineering.í And I was committed to the engineering thing throughout my time at Purdue, and I co-opted at Procter & Gamble during my stay there. I took a full-time job at P&G, and my wife did as well. She and I met at Finneytown High School here in Cincinnati. We both studied engineering and took jobs at P&G, and why not because itís a fantastic place and itís a Cincinnati company, and all our family is in town.
"I worked in Research and Development for Old Spice and Secret deodorant. I loved the company, and I loved my experience there, and my wife is still working there. But I found that just the simple problem solving aspect applied to engineering just wasnít the full picture for me. It wasnít totally fulfilling. As I went through college, I began to notice the way medicine applied that knowledge to people and serving people in our community. I really yearn for that personal connection. There were a lot of things that went along the way. My father passed away while I was in college, and that was the biggest interface I had with the health system, specifically UC Health, and I saw the value of the doctors that worked with our family, communicating treatment options and empathizing. They were so skilled at their work. Two years ago, my wife gave me the go ahead, and she has been incredibility supportive. Once I got over the length of school and really allowed myself the permission to look at medicine, I never looked back. I started shadowing and volunteering at Childrenís Hospital, and I fell in love with it. At that point, I was like, ĎI canít not do this.í Itís too much of a central passion in my life, and I felt called to do that."
What were your duties at Procter & Gamble?
"I was in process development. There is an incredible amount of research that goes into antiperspirant deodorants. Every time there is a new formula or raw material or different technology to deliver fragrance, it impacts the way that we mass produce the deodorant. Things are melted and cooled and the crystallization is important. The hardness of the stick matters so you donít have mush coming out of it, so thereís a surprising amount of engineering and thermodynamic study involved. I would travel down to Greensboro, NC, quite a lot, which is where all Old Spice is made in North America and work with the plant there to ensure that production is good. I was really the link between research and development in the lab and the actionability of making that formula at the plant. I love Old Spice; I think I will be a loyal user. I will have to pick what P&G stuff for which I will be a loyal user since I donít get a lot of free stuff. Tide, Pampers and Old Spice I will never deviate from."
Did fatherhood and family duties influence your decision to attend medical school?
"When I was considering medical school, I met with people who were married in medical school to really wrap my head around the challenges my wife and I were going to face in the next four years. What are the challenges of me wanting to prioritize the roles of husband, father and med student? Itís doable but leads me to the fact, I only applied to UC. That was a major decision that we had made because our whole family and many close friends are in Cincinnati. The one thing that I heard over and over from all the friends we talked to was, Ďyou must have a support network for your wife, child and for you to be a part of, in order to succeed.í It would be a very different scenario if I decided to move away. Luckily, I didnít have to settle for less because UC is a fantastic medical school. Itís like P&Gís reputationóUCís medical school program is known throughout Cincinnati. We may have made very difficult decisions if UCís program was not as top notch as it was. I was fortunate and blessed to have in our own backyard a great research institution."
What medical specialty interests you at this point?
"I am very open, but if you ask me right now, I would tell you I like pediatric emergency medicine. Thatís where I shadowed, and Cincinnati Childrenís Hospital Medical Center is a wonderful institution. I am sure I am biased. I also think I enjoy anesthesiology, at least on paper, and pediatrics in general. I like kids a lot. I did one shadowing stent in the adult ER, and also enjoyed it, but it is very different. We need people that are passionate there, but itís tough."
You have said faith played a role in your medical school decision. How so?
"My decision to go into medicine was certainly based on the events in my life and my passions. My Christian faith has played a big role in that as well. In medicine, we see up close the pain and suffering in this world, and that can be hard. Itís important to be grounded in a deeper hope, a sustaining hope. For me, I know that ultimately Jesusí gift of salvation offers us that sustaining, eternal hope. And thatís a personal decision for each of us to make. But as a physician, I am able to see that Jesus also came to heal the sick, give to the poor and feed the hungry. The central tenants of compassion, humility and serviceóĎserving the least of theseíóis so applicable to this field. I feel like this is not a job but a spiritual calling to me. I am excited to really be able to live out those values in my career."