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Col. Ret. Kary John Schroyer, DO '97

January 9, 2019

Headshot photograph of Col. Ret. Kary John Schroyer, DO '97“I’ve dealt with balancing a lot throughout my career—finding a balance between the demands of medicine, family and the military. I was mobilized five times, including four months in Iraq, where we cared for 20,000 detainees. I was fortunate. I did not see direct or intense combat.  . . . I was forced to deal with stress as a child. I grew up as the son of a coal miner in Western Pennsylvania; my father was an abusive alcoholic. I learned to survive.  . . . By the time I was 15, I was angry. I hated life. At a youth service at my church, I decided I was done with hate. I said: ‘God, I surrender. My life is yours. I’m not going to hold this anger anymore.’  . . . My faith has served as a foundation for all I do. It’s very clear to me that God has used my past and my experiences to provide me with guidance and direction. I like to think I was called to be a physician. If you are called, you look at your career differently. It’s not just a job.  . . . My role as an osteopathic physician is to focus on the mind, body and spirit in patient care. I’m not afraid to ask my patients about their spiritual life. It’s a good thing to ask.  . . . When I talk with patients who are in what looks like a hopeless situation, I think back to when I went through my divorce, with those real challenges and obstacles that I had before me. There seemed like no way out. I’d lost hope. It’s horrible to feel like you have no hope. I tell my patients: ‘While the situation may seem bleak, there’s always a choice. It might be a bad choice, but you are not stuck.’ And I encourage them to have faith. Currently, I am blessed to have the support of a wonderful wife and family. I could not continue this work without them.  . . . About a year ago, I came across a prayer written by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy. It reads, ‘Dear Lord, thou great physician: I kneel before thee. Since every good and perfect gift must come from thee, I pray, give skill to my hand, clear vision to my mind, kindness and sympathy to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift at least a part of the burden of my suffering fellow man and a true realization of the privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness that with the simple faith of a child I may rely on thee. Amen.’ The words resonate and comfort me. They have become my prayer.”