Family Physician–SSM Health Medical Group, Regional Assistant Dean – Kansas City University, Assistant Medical Director – Central Missouri Hospice

This year, Jefferson City Magazine recognizes 10 Ones To Watch—a group of up-and-comers who are not only high-character individuals, but who also have achieved things that have bettered the community. This group inspires through faith, drive, and dedication, and they have shown effective leadership in both their professional and personal involvements.

Christopher Paynter brings a servants’ mindset to his work in family medicine, academia, organizational leadership, and parenthood so generations after him learn to grow and serve.

“I’m a Christian, a husband, a father, and a physician. I am an American, although some do not agree. I’m Taiwanese. I grew up in rural Missouri to two loving Caucasian parents. I graduated from Lincoln University and proud to be from an HBCU. My wife is Mexican, so it is normal for our family to eat things like tamales and Taiwanese noodle soup for Christmas. My goal for my children is that they love the Lord, are self-sufficient, and they stand up for what is right. I try to approach everything I do with a servant mindset. That may be as simple as picking up trash in public or missing lunch one day to work with a patient. Each thing I do is in His glory and not my own.”

Bruce Lee (Li Jun Fan). He’s credited as the father of mixed martial arts and was an important activist. He challenged the quiet and passive stereotype of Asian males, and built bridges in a time when walls were prominent. He believed to gain one’s respect is to allow them in and learn about their culture. I’d ask him about his first student, JesseGlover, his experiences marrying a non-Asian woman, and about his spinal injury that led to his book “Jeet Kune Do.”

I’m most grateful for life. When I was a baby, my brother and I were left in a park in Taiwan. The police found us and brought us to Home of God’s Love orphanage. Because of their partnership with Ninth Street Christian Church in Eldon, we were brought here and adopted. This set a completely different course for my life as it is today.

In my daily goals, I try to be more patient. In my weekly goals, I make time for the family. For my monthly goals, I go on a date with my wife, and my grandiose goals are to bring new procedures/techniques to my clinic and improve healthcare access. There are many times I do not achieve the grandiose goals in a year, but I just have to wait patiently.

One of the biggest issues facing society is our lack of empathy. It’s too easy to hide behind screens, but we must see people as humans with wants and needs. This applies to any group of people. When we take time to get to know someone, we no longer see them as an outsider, but as a person. We can be the change by stepping away from the screen and just having conversations with people — no matter how hard that may be.

I WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME…with my kids and teach them how to do new things.

I WANT TO SPEND LESS TIME…worrying if my patients are going to be okay and more time trusting that God is in control.

Good friendships don’t require each other to have the same interests. What’s most important is the mutualistic ability to build each other up when down, celebrate each other’s successes, and lovingly correct when one is culpable.

There have been various people who’ve spoken wisdom into my life. My most recent being from medical school with Dr. Bruce Williams, a family physician, associate dean for clinical education at Kansas City University, and president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. He encouraged me to step up and has spoken up for me in service positions when others may have not believed in me — including myself.

Everyone brings something to the table. We won’t always agree, but we come with a level of love and respect that we are willing to hear each other out.

PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON…Everyone wants to feel validated, loved, and to feel their struggle sare humanized.

With the hippocampus. It doesn’t matter if I’m remembered, but that people continue to grow and never stop seeking ways to serve others. Most importantly, if I am remembered for my works, but not for whom my work is intended to glorify, then I have failed.

My family and I always love to eat at J’s Vietnamese Café for almost any occasion.

Even as a child, my favorite thing to do is write stories.

I enjoy doing small wood-working projects, but my most favorite is experiencing new places with my family.

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