When Sr. Karen Schneider decided to join religious life, she thought she was giving up her dream of becoming a doctor ...Who knew that a religious sister could also be a physician?
When Sr. Karen told her mother that she was going to medical school, even her mother asked, “Oh, so you are leaving the nuns?” While in medical school, an experience in the jungle of Guyana, South America, completely changed Sr. Karen’s career path in medicine. Since that initial experience, over twenty years ago, she has taken part in at least one international, medical missions trip every year.
In tandem with her international medical work, Sr. Karen has built a program consisting of elective courses in Pediatric Tropical Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where physicians in training can have an in-country medical experience in a resource poor setting, helping children who would otherwise not have access to a pediatrician. Sr. Karen views her career in medicine as encapsulating the 4th vow of service that a sister of Mercy takes: to serve the poor, sick and uneducated.
Regarding her career in medicine, she has testified, “As a health care provider, I enter people’s lives at a very sacred time. I think I am helping to transform the lives of children, yet it is the children who transform me. It is these patients, these small children who have taught me the lessons of life.”
Dr. Karen Schneider, RSM, is a Pediatric Emergency Physician at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, in Baltimore, Md. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins and is board certified in pediatrics. Sr. Schneider has a keen interest in international medicine, having travelled on medical mission trips to Peru, Haiti, Guyana, Belize, Kosovo, Uganda and South Korea.