Burnout Led to Career

Dr. Robert Abbott
Robert Abbott, M.D., vividly recalls “burning out mentally” after his first semester in medical school. To heal himself, the Yorktown resident hit the pause button for a year. During his year’s absence from school, he found his life’s calling – treating patients with the help of nutrition, fitness and mindfulness.

Rob, who was helped by a Hampton Roads Community Foundation scholarship, graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2017. He is in a family medicine residency in Front Royal. He also hosts a weekly Wisdom and Well-Being podcast and has written a book about integrative and functional health approaches.

Before medical school, he graduated summa cum laude from The College of William & Mary in 2012 with a chemistry degree. To help pay for college he worked 20 hours a week in an emergency room.

At UVA’s medical school, Rob found himself anxious, depressed and dealing with other health issues. During the leave of absence he focused on healthy eating, meditating, and doing yoga and other exercise. That effort, teamed with a research project on positive thinking and surgery outcomes, helped him discover “a whole different way of going about medicine.”

Before his final year at UVA, Rob won a scholarship from the Victor and Ruth N. Goodman Memorial Fund administered by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. “I am so grateful,” Rob says. The scholarship “means so much more than the dollar sign may entail. This was the first scholarship I received during my eight years of undergraduate and medical education.”

His scholarship came from a bequest from Ruth Goodman, a longtime Norfolk hospital volunteer. Her wish was to help students like Rob prepare for careers in health. This year, there are 16 Goodman Scholars studying to be doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals.

Read the latest edition of our Good Tidings newsletter to learn more about past and current scholarship recipients making positive differences in the lives of others.

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