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“Life is a Journey, Not Always a Straight Path,” Dr. Mejia. When Dr. Etienne or E.T. Mejia graduated from high school, he never dreamed his path would take him as far as the entire Middle East, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico and closer to home at San Diego, Alaska, and Hawaii. But the opportunities students have in their youth when they are adventurous and daring should be embraced. “Join the military, the Peace Corps, or travel the world before you settle down and start families of your own. These are the places where you learn the most and meet your lifelong friends, so it’s worth the time and potential delay in starting your first real job.” This is the message that Dr. Mejia highlighted during a recent stop at the MotionWorks Sports Medicine Career Explorers Program monthly meeting.
“Do fun and exciting things while you are young!” advised Dr. Mejia to the group of high school students interested in a sports medicine career. “You have to get involved; you have to participate! Don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen,” to get your health career started. An active participant in Scouting his whole life beginning as a Cub Scout, Mejia tells the story of joining a Music Career Explorers Post, even forming his first band and serving as drummer. Later in life, Mejia fondly recalls his first “medical” assignment doing first aid on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. He would eagerly await a radio call for a situation needing medical care as part of the emergency response group. He would later become an EMT.
Dr. Mejia reiterates, “You make relationships- it’s all about relationships. Some day this pays off.” A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Mejia began his college career in the typical freshman way, choosing a biochemistry major at Tulane in New Orleans, because it interested him, but today Mejia recalls, “If I were to do it all over again, I would not have been a biochemistry major, even though I was fascinated by the sciences and biochemistry, but now as you grow up you become interested in so many areas that really impact your daily life.”
Upon graduation, he took the MCAT (Medical College Acceptance Test) and was accepted to the Tulane University School of Medicine. Surprisingly, Mejia admits, “I was changing my mind until literally the moment I began my residency.” Why did he finally settle on medicine? “I like that you can make a difference in someone’s life. And it was a challenge; I like a challenge,” Mejia states. “There’s a lot of hard work, but nothing that is great is easy.”
It was during this time the young college student saw a sign for ROTC, so he decided to stop by to see if he could serve his country and gain some funding for medical school. Upon completion of medical school, Mejia completed his orthopedic internship and residency at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Mejia later served a general tour of duty in aerospace medicine as a flight surgeon in the US Navy. He reflects back on this time in his life fondly, with amazing experiences with flight school training, flying on F-18’s, flying a turboprop airplane himself, being assigned to a C-130 squadron, flying over oil-well fires, and a deployment to Iraq during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After a fellowship at the Cincinnati Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, Dr. Mejia joined the Sports Medicine Center in 1999 practicing his specialties of orthopedic sports medicine care and arthroscopic surgery for the knee and shoulder. In 2004, Dr. Timothy Malogne, who also specializes in the minimally invasive and arthroscopic management of the hip and knee, joined Mejia at the Sports Medicine Center.
Dr. Mejia’s approach to treatment revolves around high quality patient care combined with state of the art orthopedic care provided in the Sports Medicine Center’s own private surgical suites. “Patients need to be involved in decisions impacting their health, so taking the time for education about their particular musculoskeletal problem and treatment plan is a large focus of our practice,” affirms Mejia.
In addition to serving as the Team Physician for the Timber Rattlers, Dr. Mejia is proud to give back to his community in a variety of ways. He gives much of his time to Boy Scouts, serving as a Scout Leader and Troop Committee Chairman for Boy Scout Troop 73 alongside his nine and thirteen year old sons. He also assists local baseball organizations, speaking on injury prevention topics especially related to young pitchers. He also presents on orthopedic and sports medicine topics at medical conferences and symposiums.
Dr. Mejia teams with MotionWorks Physical Therapy to provide seamless, high quality patient care, as well as serving as a member of the MotionWorks Sports Medicine Career Explorers Committee.