Hank M. Spellman: Helping others, hearing their stories


The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: Hank M. Spellman, second-year student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

AMA member since: 2016.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: I love helping others and hearing their stories. While I was on a mission trip to Mexico to help repair some homes and build onto an orphanage there, I began searching for a way to incorporate those things into my future career. While patching a whole in the side of a family’s house, I realized doctors get to give back and serve others daily—and it was then I found my calling to medicine.

How I move medicine: By being active in policymaking and reaching out to my representatives in Washington. By bringing awareness to the public-health initiatives and services in New Mexico through my site HealthTalkNM.org. I move medicine by mentoring those considering a career in medicine.

Career highlights: Director of Health Talk NM, a nonprofit that helps raise awareness about public health in the communities of New Mexico. I started it before medical school and we are now about to launch a monthly public health podcast.

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: Find what “it” is that is calling you to medicine—and follow that calling with everything you have got. Remember to take time to reconnect with what brought you to medicine during your courses and enjoy the journey.

How I give back to the community: By volunteering at one of the student-run health clinics my school holds Tuesday nights at a local men’s shelter. While there, I perform physical exams, health coaching and provide the men with someone to hear their story. I have met so many amazing people there and they have given me far more than I can ever give back to them.

Aspect of my work that means the most: The trust patients put in me when sharing their stories and allowing me to care for them. It is a scary thing to tell a stranger about everything you are feeling and experiencing. I try hard to approach every person I meet with respect and empathy.

My hope for the future of medicine: For it to become an area of passion for my state, New Mexico, and our country. I want medicine to be something patients connect with and feel safe and empowered by participating in. Something we do with a wholistic patient-centered focus. Something we will all be proud we were a part of at the end of our careers.

Visit MembershipMovesMedicine.com to learn more about other AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.