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BSC Alumnus Applies College Experiences to Helping Patients in his Medical Practice

  • Created
    Friday, November 11 2011
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

flanagan_chris_drA handful of Bluefield State College employees helped Chris Flanagan during his days as a student, and the 1995 BSC graduate has been helping others ever since. Flanagan, an emergency room physician at Logan Regional Medical Center, recently reflected upon the role the College played in his life.

"I was passionate about playing college football," Flanagan (a 1990 Big Creek High School graduate) recalled. "I had received some interest from several colleges during my junior season at Big Creek, but I sustained a serious head injury late in the season and I couldn't get medical clearance to return to play football, so the scholarship offers evaporated."

A multi-sport star in high school, Flanagan was particularly disappointed at the turn of events and he talked to Big Creek coach Drexel Adkins about it. "Coach Adkins called Terry Brown (then the BSC basketball coach), who said I could come to Bluefield State and join the team as a 'walk on,'" Flanagan continued.

"I majored in applied science and chemistry and (the late) Professor Isaac Robinson was my advisor. He is a major reason I am where I am today," Flanagan said. "I met him as a freshman and he let me know that it would be very difficult for me to play ball and maintain good grades in a tough academic major."

Robinson became a teacher and mentor during Flanagan's years at the College. "When I got to BSC, I joked that I wanted to go to med school someday, but at some point during my time at BSC, it became a real goal."

Professor Robinson administered some 'tough love' that helped to shape Flanagan's future. "I had to battle through organic chemistry from Professor Robinson and he insisted on a very high level of academic performance," the McDowell County native stated. "I learned a lot about work ethic and dedication during that time."

Meanwhile, Flanagan was playing basketball for the Big Blues. "We had some great player and we enjoyed quite a bit of success in those days," he said. "Coach Brown was tough on us, insisting that we practice at 'game speed.' He also joined the BSC cross country team, becoming the first individual in the College's history to participate in cross country for four years.

Somehow, the young student-athlete found time to hold down a part-time job as a work-study student for Paul Rutherford, BSC's Director of Purchasing & Receiving. "Paul taught me a lot about growing up and taking responsibility. My undergraduate years at BSC were special. I absorbed the college experience," he added.

After graduation, Flanagan took the next step in fulfilling his dream of going to medical school when he was accepted to continue his studies at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. "It was challenging, but I had already been challenged in the classroom and in athletics at Bluefield State," he stated.

"After graduating from WVSOM in 2000, Dr. Chris Flanagan went to Logan Regional Medical Center, where he completed his internship and residency. He opened his medical practice in 2003, moving to the Logan Regional emergency room three years later. He was the head of the hospital's ER for five years before returning to an ER medical staff post in 2011.

"As an ER physician, I work on people who are in real need of help," he observed. "Every day, I use a lot of what I learned at Bluefield State. . . .things like standard operating procedure, preparation, and self-improvement."

Flanagan has also been a trailblazer for his siblings. "I was the first person in my family to graduate from college," he explained. "Since then, all three of my sisters and my brother have graduated from Bluefield State. We've had at least one family member attending BSC for the past 20 years."