Commencement Stories — Doug Grover

Graduate of UCR’s School of Medicine plans to pursue and further school’s mission

Doug Grover

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Most would agree the thought of going through medical school seems daunting. The late-night study sessions, the exams, the rotations. Imagine going through medical school with two children at home. Well, that’s exactly what Doug Grover did.

“It took a lot of balance. The right amount of balance when it came to studying, and the right amount of balance spent at home and time with my family and children,” Grover said.

The balancing act paid off. Grover is one of the 40 students graduating from UCR’s School of Medicine — it’s the school’s inaugural class, and its first set of graduating students.

Grover grew up in Moreno Valley. After graduating high school, he spent two years in Texas on a church mission trip — teaching the community about service and giving back. At 21, he came back to Southern California and started his undergraduate work at California State University, San Bernardino. He worked for a vitamin company at the time, and soon became the company’s head chemist, overseeing production. It directed him to pursue a degree in biochemistry, and a fulltime load of evening classes for the first couple years of college

Around the same time, Grover got married. His wife always wanted to pursue nursing, and as he saw her going through the process, that instilled in him a love of medicine.

“The company ended up moving to Idaho, and I passed up the career opportunity in order for my wife to go to nursing school, and so I could finish college at CSUSB to prepare for applying to med school,” Grover said.

Because he was working full-time while going to school, it took him five years to graduate. By 2012, he was ready to take the Medical College Admission Test and apply to med school. Staying in the area was important to him, so UCR’s School of Medicine was his top choice.

In March 2013, Grover and his wife had their first son. Just a few days later, another joyous moment — he received his acceptance letter to medical school at UCR.

“I’m not going to lie, it was a challenging transition. For five months, I was home with the baby, and then in the Fall of 2013 I started med school — it was demanding, it was hard — there were many occasions when I felt I didn’t have what it takes to succeed in medical school,” Grover said.

As he puts it, he was simply trying to survive. His wife was working fulltime as a nurse, and was working the night shift, so her days were spent at home sleeping and with their son. He was at school all day, and his evenings were spent at home with his baby. They were doing what he called “the switch,” only seeing one another as one came home and the other went out. Their in-laws helped a lot, watching over the baby if a sitter wasn’t available to help. He credits them for helping him get through, as well as the faculty, staff, and administration at UCR.

Grover with his wife and two children.

“I would go to the professor and to the department of student affairs when I was struggling, telling them that I was having a really hard time. And they were always there for me – they were supportive and kind, they encouraged me. It made all the difference,” Grover said.

Grover made it through the first year of med school, and the next two years after that by spending weekends on campus. Trying to get school work done at home was nearly impossible, so he would come to campus and study with fellow students. “I couldn’t have done this without them – my friends, my classmates, they really helped me through.”

Then in October 2016, he and his wife welcomed baby No. 2.

“It wasn’t so difficult this time around. I was in my fourth year of med school, I had much more free time, I’d schedule my own rotations, boards were done, there were no exams — it was much more manageable.”

Grover is excited to be done with this chapter of his life, but he said the end is bittersweet. His experience here has been humbling, but more than that he wants to give back to the community that has given him so much. He will be staying in the area, doing a four-year psychiatry residency at UCR.

“My goal now is to further the mission of the school. I will strive to work in this area and improve the health of people not only in California, but specifically the Inland Empire region, which has been an underserved area for years.”

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