Profile picture and text: 50 FOR 50 STORIES: Story #18: Daniel PotterStory #18: Daniel Potter

When there is a will, there is a way. In 1985, a biology undergraduate at USC named Daniel Potter (B.S. ’87, M.D. ’91) recognized the need for hands-on experiences for pre-health students like himself. Contacting Los Angeles hospitals from his dorm room, Potter founded Trojan Health Volunteers (THV), one of JEP’s longest standing programs. Committed to exposing students to valuable field-work and to serving the local community, THV currently supports about 160 student volunteers in their endeavors every semester.

When asked about why he started the program, on a visit to USC, Potter spoke about the existing barriers in first-hand experience: “Half the time, you’d call to volunteer and they wouldn’t know who you were and didn’t know what to do with you… There was a market; students would benefit from volunteerism and facilities would benefit from the help.” Today, THV has grown beyond its community outreach, the program also serves to encourage academic reflection about important healthcare and biomedical topics that can potentially impact the future of medicine. “JEP has taken what was a beautiful small plant with flowers and turned it into a big beautiful tree bearing fruit,” said Potter. Through THV, students gain opportunities to explore future occupations outside of their classrooms and serve at institutions ranging from large hospitals to neighborhood clinics.

Remembering his learning days with JEP and THV, Potter recounted administering free vaccinations to children at St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, a community clinic near USC. To Potter and to THV, providing students with authentic experiences weighs heavily in the education of future medical professionals. Reflecting upon his career, Potter highlighted his first day of rotation, the moment that sparked his interest in obstetrician and changed his life forever.

As an influential alumnus, Daniel Potter’s story represents the self-starting and passionate spirits of every student volunteer with THV and JEP to date. Currently, he serves as a partner and medical director at HRC Fertility, helping families deal with infertility and breaking boundaries in medicine.