Dr. Janette Nesheiwat
It would be easy to sense that helping others and patching up skinned knees, bumps, and bruises was bred into Dr. Janette Nesheiwat from birth, as one of 5 children, but her commitment to healing and helping has reached far beyond her loving home and neighborhood in Florida to reach those in crisis across the globe.
Born in New York, but raised in Umatilla, FL by her widowed mother following the death of her father at 13, Janette was continually inspired by the living example of her mother, Hayat, as she "compassionately cared for her patients" as a registered nurse at the hospital just across from where the family lived.
"She is my rock," praises the doctor, "Her strength and wisdom encouraged us all to follow our dreams."
Service and selflessness were embedded early in those dreams for all the Jordanian-American Nesheiwat siblings. Incentive for being the best in career passion was certainly there, but superseding that was the obligation to serve others as a part of living out the family's commitment to faith, and expressing gratitude for all they had.
Janette demonstrated literal "hands-on" caring at age 10, as she fed children with cerebral palsy at her mother's hospital, and helping with food distribution to neighborhoods in need at age 11, and then teaching English literacy to immigrants simultaneously with her hospital volunteering.
She was recognized with the Hugh O'Brien Leadership Award, the American Veterans of Foreign Wars Leadership Award, the Soroptimist Club Community Service Award even before her college years. Beyond her already impressive service record, it would be another hands-on experience that would shape Janette's career.
When Janette and brother, Danny attended a healthcare camp one summer during high school, she found herself fascinated as she held models of human organs, and knew she had found a calling which could combine that newfound passion with her heart for helping others.
After earning her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of South Florida, Janette completed advanced officer training at Fort Lewis, Washington. Although she received stellar evaluations through her military training in both Army ROTC and in the advanced elements, Janette was determined to become a doctor "for those in need" in every path she crossed.
Initially pursuing training at the American University of the Caribbean, she completed the majority of her studies in London, England, at St. Thomas & Guy's Hospital. Her final rotation in Emergency Medicine and Orthopedics was completed at prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Seemingly thriving amidst rigors that wash many out, Janette described the time as "amazing and unforgettable."
Her commendations and coveted certifications in advanced trauma, cardiac care, and life support could have taken her to top health centers anywhere in the world, but another connection of caring hearts brought her to Northwest Arkansas.
Touched and captivated by the warm kindness of two local ladies at a convenience store who helped her find her way from the airport, Dr. Janette immediately felt at home in the state where "the people rule," and she would be surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty.
Her approach to medicine has always been to make herself and her skills accessible and approachable to people living real lives, with limited incomes, limited time under life's responsibilities, and limited experience translating the maze of medical jargon.
In that spirit, Janette embarked upon new media responsibilities as host of the Jones Television production of Family Health Today, where she not only moderated and interviewed some of the most knowledgeable experts in fields from exercise and heart health to mental health in teens, but also steered the programming to meet the real needs of patients she treated on a daily basis.
Her episodes cover varied topics from healthy supermarket shopping, to intense surgical procedures, never sounding overly "medical," but instead, having a neighborly feel of a family friend. She ensures that expertise never has to sound like nonsense. She always has time to listen and care, even as she juggles duties as an ER physician working daily shifts in the Emergency Room and filming medical news for her community . Her focus is to bring consistent care, compassion, and meaning to people, whether rushed in on a gurney, or seeing her from TV screens-she is there where and when she is needed.
Perhaps the 36-year-old physician's most life-altering example of "being there in immediate need" happened when she headed a medical relief mission following the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010, along with her brother and brother-in-law in coordination with the With Arms Wide Open Foundation and members of Spanish River Church.
Cutting short her own family vacation, she and the team immediately coordinated transportation through near impossible terrain, to allow hundreds of boxes of needed medical supplies to reach people in the village of Leogane and other unreached populations in Haiti. No matter the unending days of doing everything from suturing wounds to helping starving newborn babies to survive, Dr. Nesheiwat's words remained, "Back to work" at every turn, her service keeping her in constant motion.
She was wrenched by the frustration of having only a wheelchair and Tylenol to offer a patient with a broken hip, or other traumatic injuries, but gave what comfort she could. It was a moment in time that gave her "greater appreciation" in every aspect of her life. That appreciation is clear in her off-duty hours, too, as she initiates mass flu clinics, serves as a literacy tutor, and provides and promotes sports physicals and activities for youth in her area.
Dr. Janette cherishes rare getaway time with family, and aspires to become a better cook and master Spanish in her scarce free time, again, so she can better serve and understand others. Janette's four siblings demonstrate similar selfless dedication. Older sister, Julia, currently serves as a senior advisor to the State Department, developing global alternative energy initiatives.
Younger sister, Jaclyn, is an award-winning children's author and national spokesperson for National Voices for Empowerment, Education, and Enlightenment, a Florida-based organization which promotes youth empowerment and anti-bullying incentives through education, following successes in a pageant career that won her titles as Miss New York USA and Mrs. Florida America.
Jaclyn and husband Scott Stapp, lead singer and lyricist for the rock band Creed, are very involved parents to their three children despite demanding touring and philanthropic obligations. Sister, Dina, is an attorney for a prominent New York firm, and brother, Danny, is completing a law degree.
Ever "on call" to support causes she finds herself called to, Janette's faith and favorite snack of apples & peanut butter sustain her, and the occasional movie or play feed her spirit. She hopes that spirit and dedication flows through all she does in medicine, on duty, off-duty, or on television.
She already has been described as the next "Dr Sanjay Gupta," but regards comments of being "more committed to helping others" and "genuinely caring about the health issues facing viewers" as more treasured than accolades, even if one of those was the Jocelyn Elders Community Service Award as chief resident, and the honor of a revealing interview with former President Bill Clinton.
Colleagues say there is no one better "to have as a friend," than Dr. Janette. She hopes viewers will welcome her as a new friend from their television screens, now, too-one who wants to create healthier, happier lives for them through every one of her episodes.
Email Dr. Janette at DrJNesh@gmail.com and visit her at www.drjanette.net