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MPH Master's Degree in Public Health, Korean-American Applicant, Older Immigrants

Updated: Jun 13

I hope to be selected to earn my MPH Degree at XXXX University, my first choice among graduate programs. In this way, I will have the opportunity to study a wide variety of issues in Public Health in-depth, with at least one central focus on helping to reduce the disparity of health care available to recent immigrants to America. I also want to study contemporary immigrant choices concerning health care. For example, my parents from Korearemain are convinced that the health care they receive back home in Korea is superior to what is available to them in the USA. Some older Koreans even move home to Korea for this reason.

My mother’s recent ordeal with breast cancer greatly enhanced my determination to excel as a student of Public Health and do my share at creating a system that is responsive to our needs both as a society and as individuals. Even though my parents paid in faithfully for a health insurance policy for years, once they investigated the complexity of what they were facing, they decided that they needed to return to Korea to treat her cancer due to economic considerations.

Growing up as a child of 1st generation immigrants to America from Korea and living through the trauma of my mother’s illness set me on a course for making access to health care in America more readily available to immigrant Americans; in my case, in particular, immigrants from Korea. I hope to establish my public health clinic in the United States, where Koreans tend to be concentrated. I left Korea for New Zealand and lived there for five glorious months before coming to the USA as a way to prepare my language abilities to perform in the American school system upon arrival. High school gave me English, and I was almost caught up with my peers when I started college. Beginning at Caldwell University in New Jersey for my first year, I transferred to Boston College for my sophomore year. I will graduate this May 2019 with my BS in Biochemistry on a pre-medical track.

Elderly immigrants like my parents, who speak only very limited English, need a great deal of support to negotiate the pitfalls and obstacles of a complicated US health care system. I have often felt guilty that I was not more helpful than I was able to be at confronting our healthcare challenges as a family, but I was very young and later struggled as a college student. Although some interpreting services are available and helpful to many individuals with limited English, many also tend to refrain from using those services and remain mainly in the dark regarding details of their treatment. In addition to going through my mother’s hardship, my interest in public health deepened as I started an internship at FCD Prevention Works this Fall. FCD Prevention Works is a global non-profit substance abuse prevention organization, which allowed me to gain experience in public health strategy, primarily offered through surveys obtained from communities where FCD Prevention provides service. FCD Prevention Works provides young students with knowledge, understanding, and skills that enhance their wellness by making healthy choices, especially about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. I hope my little contribution can provide the next generation with the knowledge and nurturance they need to become healthy, responsible individuals in the future. Earning the Master in Public Health at the School of Public Health at Brown University will help me to be able to fulfill my longstanding desire to help as many individuals as I can in the future, especially my people, Koreans, and Korean immigrants to America that share a common language.

I moved to the U.S. about seven years ago. I have lived in many different places due to my dad’s occupation, which requires traveling near coastal areas for his research. I have lived in Miami, New Zealand, California, and Boston for long periods. Learning how to live, study, and work harmoniously with others regardless of race became my moral code, and fairness and equality became a matter of common sense. My world views are increasingly open-minded and aware. I believe exposure to diversity is one of my strengths. I started volunteering at a local nursing home, hospital, and the center for blinds in high school to enhance this strength. Although many institutions or places ordered help, I choose a nursing home and hospital because diversity matters in healthcare settings.

I am keenly aware of the necessity of diversity in health care because language is the most formidable barrier to accessing health care among American immigrants, including my family. Elderly immigrants such as my parents, who lack English proficiency, seek help locating health facilities, making appointments, communicating with health professionals, and acquiring knowledge of their illnesses. Due to this, the lack of language proficiency certainly brought role disruptions in my household, which often created awkward situations. I often felt uncomfortable facilitating an older family member’s healthcare making decisions. Although interpretation services are available and helpful, people with limited English still tend to underutilize services.

No matter how diverse the workforce is, I believe the most crucial goal within healthcare settings is to create an inclusive environment and allow everyone to express themselves. We must partner up to creatively address and embrace an ever more diverse future.

Throughout three years of college, I have branched out my volunteer location t abroad: Nicaragua. I went to my third brigade this winter break in January 2016. I always volunteer through Global Brigades because it empowers a sustainable holistic model for the under-resourced communities while fostering local cultures. My recent trip to Nicaragua in January was extraordinary because, unlike my two other brigade experiences, I was on a Medical brigade this time. I took vitals and patient history in triage, shadowed licensed doctors who are usually non-local in medical consultations, and assisted in a pharmacy under the direction of licensed pharmacists.

I also believe in the essential primary. That healthcare should be considered a right, at least for all legal residents of a country, and that access to health care and health outcomes should not reflect glaring ethnic disparities. This reality leaves me with the firm impression that this doesn't seem right and represents something broken in our system that must be fixed. I want immigrants to feel safe and comfortable accessing healthcare without coming up against barriers that lead to a sense of exclusion and discrimination, as experienced by my parents. Based on distinguishing myself in your MPH Program at Brown University, I might decide to apply to medical school. I will be looking into these applications and conferring about this with my teachers, hopefully in your program. This would enable me to fulfill my dream in a total sense since I could also practice medicine at the health clinic mainly for Koreans that I hope to open near a Korean population concentration in America, a “Korea Town.”

My mother’s illness occurred while I was an undergraduate student; becoming ill and almost died while I was taking exams – I could not do my best. Thanks to life-saving surgery, she is entirely on the road to recovery. However, this crisis negatively affected my grades, and I asked for special consideration for admission based on my GPA.

I am a runner and proud to have finished my first half-marathon this past April. Throughout 1.5 months of training, I learned the importance of persistence. Running was new for me; I started running 1 mile every morning before my first class and increased little by little until I found myself running several miles and not wanting to stop. My longest run during training was 8 miles, and the marathon I ran was 13.1. I persevered and finished. I get up every morning to run at least 2.5 miles to begin each day. This running gives me a sense of everyday accomplishment. I also enjoy it very much singing. I was in a high school choir and a member of the catholic church choir during my first year at XXXX University in New Jersey.

Thank you for considering my application to the Master’s Program in Public Health at XXXX University.

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