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Lehigh Carbon Community College

LCCC alum follows his dream of being a doctor

By Lorraine Letcavage

Ask most high school students what they think of a human anatomy class, and many will say, “boring” or “tedious.”

Not so for Lehigh Carbon Community College alumnus Joshua “Josh” da Silva. Long before donning the official cap and gown of academic achievement, da Silva listened eagerly as a doctor explained the body’s structures and systems. Josh recalls the class as an exciting first step in his decision to pursue a medical career.

“I had always been told by my parents that when choosing a career, I should do something I love rather than what would seem necessarily practical,” da Silva says. “I knew that I loved human anatomy, and I wanted to make a difference and help people, so medical school seemed like a natural choice.”

Led by a strong desire to serve others and a family of role models, the ambitious anatomy student who was once inspired by a physician can now add that title to his own resume, as Dr. da Silva.

A 2009 LCCC graduate, da Silva set the groundwork for his career as a participant of the college’s Honors Scholars program, then took advantage of LCCC’s transfer agreement with Moravian College in Bethlehem to pursue his bachelor’s degree.


Family encouragement

An early mentor and lifelong inspiration for da Silva was his mother, Silvana, who attended LCCC while working as an emergency room technician within Lehigh Valley Health Network. She is currently a registered nurse, and will soon earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

Da Silva credits his mother’s pursuit of nursing as his first exposure to medicine, and her dedication served as a reminder for him to persevere even through tough situations.

“When she started nursing school, she attended classes during the day and worked at night. If I ever start to feel lazy, I always remind myself that she had the energy to do that, while taking care of a family in her 30s.”

Silvana also encouraged her other children to attend LCCC, and da Silva’s brother, Jeremy, and sister, Adriana, are both graduates of LCCC.


Looking to the future

Realizing it was his destiny to become a doctor, da Silva earned his bachelor’s degree in neurobiology and neuroscience at Moravian in 2011. His specialty in cellular neurobiology prepared him to advance into medical school, and he completed his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree in 2016.

He most recently worked as a resident physician at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System. He also helps fellow team members as a representative for the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association, a governing body that promotes and advocates for physician’s issues.

But there is yet another obligation that engages da Silva on his journey to save lives – a thriving military career with the U.S. Air Force.

Da Silva’s medical military career began in a similar fashion to his education – through an innate sense of service and inspiration from his family. His father, David, served in the Air Force and helped open the door for da Silva to join and gain access to programs that help finance medical school and offer overseas travel.

Da Silva is nearing completion of the process to practice emergency medicine in a dual military/civilian program. An Air Force captain, he is currently transitioning to the next phase of his career – training with the Kettering Health System in Dayton, Ohio, his top choice for residency. After a few years of training in critical care medicine, he will take a final board exam to become certified in the highly competitive field of emergency medicine.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that you cannot do something – ever,” da Silva says. “Especially if that voice is coming from you. You’re stronger than you think, and the world will yield to those with unyielding spirits.”