Bringing Healthcare to the Community: Gracie Landeck
Gracie Landeck knew that she wanted to be in healthcare, but it was a report about coffee in a biology class that helped her decide on family medicine. The Beaufort County Early College High School student finished an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science and stayed to take additional courses through December at Beaufort County Community College. She plans to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biology before attending medical school. Landeck wants to make healthcare accessible to more people and explore holistic medicine.
“I wanted to explore my options before I committed to a university, and I knew Beaufort had a variety of classes, so you could explore any of your interests before committing money and time to larger school,” she says. Landeck chose to stay an extra semester to take more classes toward her major in a smaller setting.
“I've always had an interest in helping people, I just didn't know what field would be best,” she says. “I have a knack for teaching or tutoring, which is why I'm in LEC right now, but I think I would be more helpful in the medical field based on my memorization skills.” She works as a professional tutor on campus through the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC).
“I like clear answers. This is where your heart is. This is where your liver is. It's not going to change. I just like that consistency,” she says about her perception of biology.
She will start at a university in the fall of 2024. She is searching for an internship in a doctor’s office until then. She wants a reality check before committing to another six years of education.
After medical school, she plans to keep working in rural eastern North Carolina. “I think it'd be cool to bring some help back to the Beaufort County, because a lot of people prefer Pitt County or bigger cities, but I think rural areas need more medical care,” she says.
“In places like Hyde County, Pantego, or Belhaven, people travel far just to get medical help, and they don't have options when it comes to emergencies unless they travel say 40 miles to get to either Washington or Greenville. Getting airlifted costs so much money, and a lot of people in those areas can’t afford that. Having some type of smaller, more practical medical facility close to them where they can call on you would be beneficial for like those smaller communities.”
Her mother Bonnie Landeck, a respiratory therapist at ECU Health Beaufort Hospital, has inspired her. She has worked at the hospital for over 20 years and through multiple changes in ownership.
“I look up to her and her motivation–helping people–not necessarily for profit,” she explains. “It's always been about getting to know them and helping them, and I find that her most admirable character trait, and I want to reflect that in my practice.”
Driven by purpose, entangling profit with healthcare is a big problem for Landeck. “They will treat the symptoms, but not treat the overall cause because they're trying to prolong it so long so they can get more money, and I honestly don't want to be a part of that practice. I want to do it because people need the help, not because I want to make money off them.”
It was a presentation in Dr. Chad Smith’s biology class that cemented her interest in family medicine.
“I did my presentation on the positive effects of coffee and caffeine on the body, and I thought that maybe I want to do natural medicine or holistic medication, but I knew that you can't usually do that unless it's family practice or a smaller practice,” she says.
The presentation cracked her curiosity about herbal medicine and home remedies. “Everything's so connected, and then private industries want to get your money, and then they kind of just like cut off that connection.”
As this new curiosity about herbal medicine dovetails with her connection to her region and her passion for improving its residents’ health, rural healthcare will have an advocate and a practitioner in Gracie Landeck.
Beaufort CCC is currently accepting applications for new students, and Regular Registration for Spring 2024 is taking place through December 13. To sign up for tutoring through the Learning Enhancement Center with Landeck, visit www.beaufortccc.edu/lec