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Michigan State University
Spartan Sagas
Dean Carpenter
Alumnus, 2002
Chelsea, Michigan
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Dean Carpenter

A prescription for hope.

Alumnus, 2002
Chelsea, Michigan


In a nursing career spanning more than 25 years, Dean Carpenter has never been more fulfilled than he is when caring for those seeking medical treatment at a shelter of last resort in Detroit. What keeps him motivated? The same thing that he offers his patients: hope.

Detroit’s Tumaini Center—its name taken from the Swahili word meaning to believe and hope—is a crisis support shelter for the chronically homeless that turns no one away. Carpenter, who earned his master’s degree in nursing at MSU, provides primary health care there part time while also working at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor.

Many who seek medical care at the shelter are homeless and struggle with chronic illness and addiction. But Carpenter focuses on the success stories and finds satisfaction in doing small things that make a big difference in people’s lives.

“I can’t solve the health care problems in Detroit by myself,” says Carpenter, “but I can do the best that I can with the person who’s sitting in front of me at that moment.”