OGDEN -- Bones rattling in his fourth-grade classroom propelled Dr. Bryan Campbell toward a career in medicine.
That year, Campbell said, his class began studying the human skeleton. He was hooked.
"From that point on, being a doctor was always on my list, so when I began Linfield College, I was one of 120 freshmen out of a class of 400 to be a pre-med major," Campbell said. "I graduated with five others on that list."
Today, Campbell is a family residency physician at the Porter Clinic inside McKay-Dee Hospital, and is this year's recipient of the Weber County Medical Society Doctor of the Year award. The award was presented by the Weber County Medical Alliance during a special dinner at the Timbermine Restaurant last month.
Local third-graders also participated by writing an essay of what a doctor means to them. The three winners received $25 each and got to read their essays at the dinner.
"This year all three students spoke out well, stood on a step stool so we could see them and spoke into a mike," said alliance President Bonnie Wahlen. "They all had personal medical experiences. When they finished, Dr. Campbell climbed up on the stool, so he stood so tall, and tongue-in-cheek said he was glad he had been chosen and that he really did deserve the award."
Wahlen said after 15 or 20 minutes, eight residents Campbell is teaching at the hospital walked forward and surrounded him, lifted him off the stool and told him everyone had heard enough.
"It was a very humorous, yet elegant speech," Wahlen said. "Perfect for Bryan."
The criteria for the award, said Wahlen, includes being in good standing at practicing hospitals, making contributions to medical practice and being active in civic, church or humanitarian functions.
Campbell was born and raised in Idaho. He and his wife, Margarette, have four children. After graduating from Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., he received his medical degree from Washington School of Medicine.
In addition to practicing medicine, Campbell serves on the faculty of McKay-Dee Hospital Family Medicine Residency and has been a clinical instructor for University of Utah's School of Medicine, assistant professor of family practice at U of U and a Snowbasin emergency clinic physician.
"Over the years of teaching, I have often asked residents why they went into medicine," Campbell said. "My favorite answer was, 'I couldn't help it,' emphasizing that for many doctors it is much more than merely a job and more than a career."
Campbell said being a physician is truly a calling and comes with wonderful opportunities and tremendous responsibilities.
"Teaching is like that too, so working with the superb residents we have at McKay has been a continuous adventure," he said. "Plus, if I happen to get a little overconfident, they quickly bring me back to earth, which is a great mechanism for reinforcing humility."
Campbell said he has tried throughout his career to learn from both successes and difficulties and to apply lessons from his own experience and those of the vast community of medicine to help patients seeking his care.
"My personal time as a patient has helped me realize what patients go through, so I have attempted to approach my patients with kindness and compassion," he said.
Campbell said one of the great attractions to medicine as a career is that it requires constant learning and provides never-ending opportunities for service. Although there are many regulatory challenges to practice these days, Campbell said there never have been such powerful tools for healing as the world has today.
However, despite all of the advances of medical science, Campbell said there is a tremendous amount of work to do to truly understand the processes of health and illness. He said one of the country's biggest challenges is that of obesity.
"Statistically, one of the greatest medical challenges we face as a society is the ever-increasing burden of obesity," he said. "It's a very complex problem which damages individuals and costs our country a great deal of expense."
When he isn't practicing medicine, Campbell likes to read, fly fish, play softball, ski and attend cultural events with his family. He is also avidly involved with the Boy Scouts of America.