A Well-Rounded Route to a Health Care Career

Authored by
Peagler Correggio

Correggio Peagler’s journey from Lithonia, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, to the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is marked by a rare blend of athleticism, artistry, and a deep commitment to learning and service.

From his earliest days, Peagler, now finishing his second year of medical school, was immersed in both athletics and the arts. He excelled in football, martial arts, and track. A passion for music led him to master the alto saxophone and piano, adding a melodic dimension to his multifaceted personality. At each step in his development, Peagler’s versatility and resilience in the face of challenges have become hallmarks of his character.

Peagler fondly recalls when his father decided the two would study jujitsu together. As the pair moved up the ranks, from white belts to black belts, and mastered each new skill, the pre-teen watched as his father met each physical challenge and set-back with poise. 

“That’s an experience I hold very close,” says Peagler. Training with his dad taught him far more than the balance and control of martial arts. Among other things, he learned how to manage the frustration of failure and stay focused on the larger goal. “It taught me the importance of family, and helped me become the young man that I am.”

That resilience and determination was soon tested, when a high school football game left Peagler with a badly broken femur. The painful experience sparked his interest in medicine while also exposing him to the inequities of the health care system. 

Poor treatment and limited resources at a nearby hospital led his parents to move him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. There, Peagler recalls his orthopaedic surgeon “took his time and explained everything to me — what surgery I was going to have, what tools he was going to use during the surgery — and from that experience, I not only got interested in medicine, I also became interested in orthopedic surgery.”

Drawn by the emphasis on public health and cultural competence, for Peagler coming to GW for medical school was a natural fit.

“Seeing that emphasis GW places on public health, that there is a curriculum aligned with earning an MPH and an MD at the same time; that emphasis on public health and on cultural competence really drew me to GW,” he says.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Peagler remains deeply rooted in his community, finding joy in connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. His infectious enthusiasm and resilience have propelled him through personal challenges, reinforcing his belief in the power of lifelong learning and adaptability.

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