Army Medic Afghanistan, Medical School Admission Personal Statement

The litter bearers burst through the triage area doors from the dusty Afghanistan night carrying three soldiers injured in an IED blast. The tent that housed the trauma bay hummed intensely yet somberly as the medical staff began evaluating the casualties. My trauma shears ripped through the soldier’s charred uniform while I performed an initial assessment of the casualty with the attending physician. Exposing the injuries, I found that the soldier was badly burned due to the blast. He was unconscious, suffering from a compromised airway and his skin was peppered with shrapnel. I attached monitoring equipment, started a peripheral line and began cleaning the burns that blanched the majority of the soldier’s upper body. Through the synchronized chaos of surgeons directing treatment, anesthetists intubating and nurses administering initial medications, I understood the fluid relationship between the levels of medical hierarchy. I became part of an intricate network of communication, and the demanding process of saving a life. Nothing has been more rewarding than serving my fellow soldiers and the local Afghan community during a year long deployment overseas. Working in a combat support hospital under personalized mentorship of a cardiothoracic, orthopaedic and general surgeon gave me the opportunity to learn about long and short term care, processes of diagnosis and proactive medical treatment in trauma situations. After serving in a combat zone I realized that a life is the most magnificent and powerful force in existence. It compels us to bridge language and cultural barriers, and it is the common denominator amongst all human beings. As a physician, my priority is the preservation of that which is most precious to us all.

The impetus for pursing a career as a physician began during my involvement in the Minority Medical Education Program (MMEP) in the summer of 2001 at Yale University, where I participated in a rigorous eight week program that mirrored the experience of a first year medical student. The curriculum focused on writing and communication skills, medical ethics and core science knowledge. Additionally, the program encouraged team building, small group discussions about current medical developments and molding the future of healthcare. I received close mentorship from first through fourth year Yale medical students during the MMEP, as well as opportunities to shadow physicians in the New Haven Hospital emergency room, 11oncology ward and cardiology department. The MMEP shaped my focus as a young student aspiring to inherit the future of medicine, and provided me with realistic expectations for my life long pursuit of medical knowledge. During the MMEP I found joy in the practical application of my undergraduate studies, as well as an appreciation for the dynamicity of my forthcoming medical education.

The following summer I participated in the Infectious Diseases Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Iowa. Over an eight week period I studied trends of nosocomial versus community acquired Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA) infections at 140 statewide, long term care facilities. I used pulse field gel electrophoresis to categorize and group different strains of MSRA taken from patients at the different facilities and track patterns of prevalence. The summer long project added perspective to the obligations and responsibilities of being a physician. At the culmination of the eight weeks I understood the importance of medical research and the interdependency between the laboratory and clinical realms. I realized that it is critical to be immersed in medical literature and to foster an atmosphere that encourages aggressive medical research. I also learned that the term “medical community” signifies a constant discourse between the many facets of medicine. The commission of every physician is to juxtapose ideas, plans and research with the unified goal of improving the quality of life. Lastly, when I think of the role of a physician I amreminded of a quote by Robert Browning that states, “But a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” The face of healthcare is constantly changing. The medical field needs professionals with imagination and vision. My vision dictates that I contribute to fulfilling that necessity and I will provide the same quality of care that I received. I thank you for considering my application to your program.

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