Like countless other health care professionals, Dr. Justin Weirich ’06 was among those who went the “extra mile” to serve clients during the height of a COVID-19 outbreak last year. A family medicine practitioner at Lutheran Health Physicians in Fort Wayne, Ind., Weirich and his colleagues observed a lack of sufficient COVID testing capacity in local facilities as pandemic numbers swelled in late 2020.
The worst months were late October through mid December,” he recalls. “Positive cases were rising exponentially in Michigan, and the clinics in nearby Fort Wayne just couldn’t do it all.” To keep those patients from overwhelming hospital emergency services, Weirich and colleagues volunteered days off to staff a COVID-specialized clinic.
“It was a challenge,” he recalls. “There was a shortage of healthcare professionals as people quarantined and cared for their family needs. But telemedicine has really grown into a valuable tool that continues to be regularly utilized today. This helped us keep up with our regular clients as well as in-person COVID clinic patients.”
As a child, Justin watched his father, Gordon Weirich, MD, who has practiced family medicine for more than 40 years in Weyers Cave, Va. “Dad modeled generosity and empathy,” Justin remembers. “I always knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Those characteristics have led Dr. Weirich to take part in multiple surgical and medical mission trips to the Philippines, Honduras, and Bolivia, in addition to serving his local community.
Weirich graduated from EMHS in 2006, where he sang in Touring Choir, and played basketball and soccer. The boys varsity soccer team won the Division I state title his senior year, a special memory. “I do call those my golden days!” he notes with a laugh. “But really EMHS was truly a gift for me, and I would never replace those years.”
Weirich went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Mary Washington and worked pre- and post-operative care at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg. He earned his medical degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2016, followed by a residency in family medicine at Fort Wayne Medical Education Program.
Justin is married to Sarah (Beck) Weirich and has two young children. Read more at easternmennonite.org/news