Benjamin Leist

My MCW Story: Benjamin Leist

Monk's enlightenment leads him to career in medicine

Spirituality drives Benjamin Leist, and always has – so much so that for a time he even cloistered himself.

But Leist had another drive that eventually led him to MCW.

“In high school, I was thinking of a medical missionary approach,” Leist said. “It was more from the human compassion side than just the science.”

Leist enrolled at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota fully intending to go pre-med. Instead, within one semester he was bent on studying theology and pastoral and youth ministry.

“I was planning on joining a religious community,” Leist said, “and in fact, I did. I was a Norbertine for two years.”

That was followed by several years of teaching, but Leist didn’t feel he had found his place.

 “I asked myself, ‘In five years, where do I want to be?’ And it wasn’t teaching high school. It was where I started, in medicine.

“I applied pretty widely in the Midwest, but ideally I wanted to stay close to home. And to have this absolute top-notch school right here – that’s a huge asset .If MCW had already established the Green Bay campus when I was applying, it would have been a difficult choice. I would really have enjoyed learning more about the course offerings and rotation sites. They would have been much closer to both my wife's and my families.”

As a fourth-year student looking ahead to “Match Day,” Leist now hopes to get a residency in anesthesiology and then pursuing a fellowship in pain management. Leist decided after an internship at the Betty Ford Clinic in California, “I want to help people struggling with addiction. I’m very spiritual, and there is plenty of room for spirituality in all aspects of medicine.”

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Page Updated 05/06/2016