I trace my dedication to our battle against cancer to that day when I learned that my closes friend from medical school back home in India had been diagnosed with a mediastinal tumor and was undergoing chemotherapy. At first, I was in shock and disbelief and soon went to visit him in a hospital in New Delhi. I still remember the poised and serene look on his face: courage and fortitude mixed with resignation. The whole time I was wondering what must be going through his mind? He told me how it started as an annoying cough, initially thought to be tuberculosis but eventually turning out to be poorly differentiated Carcinoma. He underwent several cycles of chemotherapy complete with the great suffering entailed only to find out that the mass was chemo resistant. Nevertheless, he remained hopeful.
One week after I had returned to the USA, I got a phone call and was told that he had passed away. It was hard to believe and difficult to accept that he would have to go at such a young age. This experience was the beginning of my full immersion in Hematology/Oncology, setting me on course for where I am now, hoping to be selected to your distinguished Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. Furthermore, later that same year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she underwent chemotherapy for more than a year. I took care of her and it was painful to see her go through so much anxiety and suffering from the side effects of treatment. My mother is doing very well and I am deeply grateful for all the advances in oncology and to the people who contributed to those advances as it provides me a chance to see my loved ones live longer and healthily. This experience further cemented my focus on Hematology/Oncology and my ever growing desire of helping cancer patients and their families.
My experience in the fulfillment of Hematology/Oncology electives at Saint Vincent Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School as part of my residency training further reinforced my special passion for fighting cancer. The opportunity to take care of cancer patients first-hand enabled me to more fully appreciate how much my heart and soul is invested in this special field.. I have gained extensive exposure to a wide variety of patients with a similarly broad variety of cancers; and participated in their management plans - curative, palliative, symptomatic treatment and surveillance. I have been especially fortunate to work with dedicated, compassionate oncologists who were truly inspiring. I have seen them bonding with patents on a personal level and not just as healthcare providers. I love the profound challenge of Hematology/Oncology and the strength that I draw from the resilience and optimism of cancer patients. My patients help me to appreciate every day how very strong and courageous human beings can be. Each day their courage drives me forward to do even better than the day before.
My exposure to research through the course that I took at Harvard - "Principles and Practice of Clinical Research" helped me to more fully appreciate the importance of our investment in research. This course was the first professional platform upon which I found myself interacting with a diverse group of participants from all over the world and I realized that no matter how geographically separated we humans are, we all have many things in common and it is important to share resources and strategies, always learning from the challenges faced by each other. During my two years of association with the course - first as a student and then as teaching assistant - I have learned the importance of collaborative learning, teamwork and mentorship. I look forward to putting my experience so far to excellent use as I continue to grow and mature, constantly preparing myself for my maximum future contribution to my chosen field. So far, I have been able to participate in the writing of several Oncology-related abstracts and performance improvement projects, in addition to a project on multiple myeloma. I keenly look forward to continuing to contribute to oncology research in conjunction with my day-to-day work as a clinician.
I hope to be selected to a program with excellent didactics, outstanding faculty, and a diverse patient population, providing me with the intensive, cutting-edge training and guidance that I need. I want to push the limits so as to become a highly accomplished, well-rounded, versatile Hematologist/Oncologist. After completing my fellowship, I would love to continue to work at your hospital as an attending physician where, in addition to treating patients, I could continue to actively contribute to oncology research.
I thank you for considering my application to your program.