Dr. John Rusher, member of John Rex Endowment’s board since October 2017, is one of those rarely seen but extremely valuable professionals – someone who is both an attorney and a physician.

He graduated from Wake Forest College of Law in 1984 and spent six years practicing with the Raleigh firm of Hatch, Little and Bunn. There he developed expertise in working with the guardian ad litem program as well as the juvenile court system, specifically representing individuals who were the victims of negligence. As he worked with children and families at competency hearings, he got to know physicians at Wake Medical Center and at UNC-Chapel Hill. “In fact, I was often asked to teach medical students about going to juvenile court on their patients’ behalf,” Dr. Rusher says.

As time went on, he felt a clear call to return to school, this time to become a pediatrician himself. “It was a crazy time,” Dr. Rusher confesses. “I started medical school at the age of 32, with twin boys who were then six weeks old, and my wife, an attorney, and I were juggling everything.”

Finishing at the age of 36, he served his residency at UNC-Chapel Hill and at Wake Med, where he had worked in the past as a lawyer representing children and families. He has now been with Raleigh Pediatric Associates for 22 years, seeing patients full time.

Governor Roy Cooper appointed Dr. Rusher in November 2017 to serve on the statewide North Carolina Medical Board, a post he will hold until October 2020. He is also active in the N.C. Pediatrics Society. “That is where I combine my medical knowledge with my legal experience on how the court system operates,” he says.

He adds, “I believe that it is better to intervene early enough to confront problems, than to wait and try to fix later.” [11/2019]