Jason Franasiak: Living a Life in Balance

May 14, 2009 — Whatever lies in his future as a physician, Jason Franasiak is sure it will involve a balance.

He explained that one of his research mentors proposed that a solid footing requires three legs: "One grounded in clinical practice, one in thoughtful research and one in the community."

"My greatest mentors have been individuals who strive to balance their lives," he said. "This was my mission as an undergrad and in medical school, and thankfully it has served me well."

In his quest for balance, Franasiak leaves a legacy at the University of Virginia School of Medicine of exceptional leadership, research and inspiration to others.

Franasiak is director and founder of U.Va.´s chapter of Building Tomorrow: Destination Kampala, a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for the construction of schools in Kampala, Uganda. The group has raised more than $50,000 and is in the process of building its first school.

As president of the U.Va. chapter of the American Medical Student Association, Franasiak led the chapter in raising more than $20,000 to build a health clinic in El Salvador.

A native of Chesapeake, Franasiak is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical school honor society, the Humanism Honor Society, the Raven Society and is a Bowman Scholar at the School of Medicine. He also served as president of the Mulholland Society, the School of Medicine's student government. Franasiak's accolades include a 2009 AMA Leadership Foundation Award, the Edgar J. Shannon Award of the Z Society, and the Humanism in Medicine Award from U.Va. On Saturday, he will receive one of three Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards to be given to U.Va, community members, another honor focused on public service.

"Jason's commitment to the welfare of others is evident through his clinical service in Guatemala and his creation of a non-profit organization to raise funds for the construction of schools in Kampala," said Dr. Randy J. Canterbury, senior associate dean for education at the School of Medicine. "He has been a devoted advocate for his fellow students as Mulholland Society president and has been an invaluable contributor to the open exchange of ideas between the faculty, administration and students."
He added, "Jason is the definition of the type of physician we seek to graduate from U.Va. – compassionate and concerned for health care on personal, local and global levels, and possessing impressive leadership skills to implement those values."
Franasiak is heading to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a residency and fellowship in obstetrics and gynecology. At this point in his career, he's not sure where his residency will take him in life, but he plans to maintain the balance that has served him well.

"I was raised in a very loving and caring family and through my entire life have been surrounded by people who have been outstanding role models and mentors," he said. "Through them I learned a great deal and was encouraged to do what I could, big and small, to give back wherever I can."