Noetta - The Joy of Learning



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Don Purcell, M.D.

I've been involved in teaching -- and the practice of medicine -- for most of my life. In my formative years, I attended a school called Calasanctius, in Buffalo New York (although we in Niagara Falls, N.Y.). Calasanctius is modeled after the European "Form" system, which allows students to explore a wide range of learning experiences; all at their own pace. Calasanctius is a unique place of diverse cultural and ethnic traditions, as well as opportunities to explore the arts and sciences in great depth. I consider this experience to be the one that "set the stage" for my later interests in life.

Although I spent a great deal of time living in Western New York State, I was actually raised in Erie Pennsylvania, which is located on its lake border. While living in Erie, I attended Gannon University, a private undergraduate school with a strong emphasis in the applied sciences, as well as philosophy. The time at Gannon was well spent, for it offered me a chance to try my hand at teaching, not to mention dabbling in the horticultural sciences -- an endeavor which has since become a "long-standing love" of mine. My stay at Gannon offered me the first opportunity I had to teach, and one for which I will forever be grateful. As a "student instructor," I was privileged to learn many of my basic teaching skills from two exemplar individuals: Austin O' Toole and Joseph Gregorek, both of whom went on to found a number of important learning endeavors for higher education. Their particular "style" of presentation was truly dynamic. This -- coupled with their vast body of knowledge -- offered me exposure to role models who were not only outstanding "teachers," but true educators in the very best sense of the word.

From Erie Pennsylvania, my travels took me to Houston Texas where I completed medical school at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center there. UT-Houston is an institution heavily steeped in academic research, which is reflected in its outstanding faculty roster. I learned a great deal from a number of well-known individuals who are considered "shining stars" in their respective fields. During my residence in "The Bayou City," I also participated in some fundamental aspects of basic science research, as well as consultation work in the medical-legal aspects of healthcare. As you may know, Houston is a hub for medicine as well as one of the great cultural "melting pots" of the United States. As such, I was privileged to learn a great deal from my stay there, along with a better sense of the potential we all have as individuals when we take the time to nurture community and "cultural roots."

From Texas, I went as far west as you can go and still stay within the fifty states -- Hawai'i. I was drawn to Hawai'i for my postgraduate medical training because of its multi-cultural heritage. While there, I attended the University of Hawai'i, and completed two residencies; one in Primary Care Internal Medicine, and the other in Psychiatry. I also worked in several other areas including substance abuse counseling, pain management, prison medicine and hospice care -- the latter of which I served as a Medical Director for seven years. It was in Hawai'i that also I met my wife (Lee). Lee and I have a son (Ryan), who is the delight of our life, and the source of much happiness! Although many good things happened for us there, our life in Hawai'i was "bitter sweet." Although I had a very successful professional practice, I initially partnered into a business that failed -- which resulted in unexpected personal and monetary losses. As such, and out of a need to make some sense of things, I wrote a book called The Power of Change In it I discuss the perils and pitfalls of dealing with life "on life's terms"; especially when things are well beyond our control, and don't turn out the way we intended or planned.


Available at my seminars,
or through the "To Register"
page of this website.

Hawai'i was a critical learning experience for me, and one to which I owe much. I am especially grateful to my patients, friends and family; all of whom stood by me through both the prosperous, as well as difficult times.

My speaking career, as it stands today, has very much grown out of the last fifteen years, during which I have developed presentations for a number of groups and institutions concerning healthcare and related topics of human interest. As such, I currently address both professional and general audiences alike on a wide variety of subjects including: Health and disease management, pain control, coping with stress, women's health, mental illness and a host of others. My talks are multimedia-based and integrate health, history and the arts.

Today, I live in the San Francisco Bay area with my wife and son. We settled in Napa California where I am fortunate enough to teach and work with a number of pharmaceutical companies who are keenly interested in providing quality educational programs.

Throughout my life, I have been given great opportunities, which I will forever cherish. It hasn't always been easy, but nothing of value ever seems to come without the challenges of earning it.

I hope to meet you in the near future, and trust that I will serve not only as your teacher, but also as a reliable and trusted "educator" for your important professional informational needs.

With Personal Regards,

Dr. Don


The Beauty of Spring in Napa California
"Where the wine is bottled poetry."
-- Robert Louis Stevenson --