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 loss with the attending physician. Exposing the injuries, I found that the soldier was severely 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 cleaned the burns that blanched most 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 the medical hierarchy. I became part of an intricate communication network and the demanding process of saving a life. Nothing has been more rewarding than serving my fellow soldiers and the local Afghan community during my overseas deployment. Working in a combat support hospital under the personalized mentorship of a cardiothoracic, orthopedic, and general surgeon allowed me to learn about long and short-term care, diagnosis processes, and proactive medical treatment in trauma situations. After serving in a combat zone, I realized life is the most magnificent and powerful force. It compels us to bridge language and cultural barriers, which 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 pursuing 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 the first through the fourth year at Yale, medical students during the MMEP, and 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 lifelong pursuit of medical knowledge. During the MMEP, I found joy in the practical application of my undergraduate studies and 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 eight weeks, 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 other facilities and track prevalence patterns. 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 foster an atmosphere encouraging 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 am reminded of the suggestion of Robert Browning that “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 I received. I thank you for considering my application to your Medical School program.