Coming from a developing nation, I have seen and experienced blatant healthcare disparities that exist between the rich and the poor. While many in developed nations complain of insurance companies making healthcare decisions, in Iran, where I was born, healthcare decisions are made based on what patients can afford. As a boy, I felt a fire inside me, a sense of justice and compassion that wanted to prevent illness, or aid in the recovery of people’s health. I recall how when the Iranian Islamic Revolution turned our nation upside down, I witnessed the decline of the health policies that for so long supported and protected us: the Global AIDS programs, Medicaid, Medicare, and Reproductive Health programs. In Iran, I stared at a truth few could bear, the physical decline of those who could not afford basic medical care or preventative medicine. These realities spurred me to research how health policies in a community are scripted, implemented, regulated, and sustained. In this great age of information, I became aware of how industry and mass media report on inadequate health policies and the inherent risks thereof.
When I graduated high school, my ambitions, my dreams for a better life, and my ability to freely express my thoughts, ideas, and goals brought me to America. In America, I have had incredible access to educational institutions, building an academic base of knowledge to aid people in preventing disease, helping others to achieve a better quality of life, and healing as many as possible. I developed my ideas of how to improve welfare systems, comparative health policy, and a grasp of the magnitude of need versus feasibility: providing affordable healthcare to over forty-four million uninsured Americans. I do not believe that it is a paradox, and I will be at the forefront of producing sustainable policies that address this, our greatest national challenge.
Many educational institutions speak of the need to produce culturally competent alumni. I bring with me many experiences from around the world. Indeed, I speak four languages competently, have traveled to forty-eight countries, and can communicate effectively with people of many differing backgrounds and creeds. I have a deep respect for other cultures and have developed the ability to adapt quickly to living in various parts of the world. Moreover, I have seen these amazing places in the context of my academic background, through the eyes of a scholar, remarking on the politics and public health interventions that I have seen.
My GRE scores do not reflect the seriousness with which I have approached my academic experience. I feel that my GPA, Phi Beta Kappa and International Honor Society membership, and scholastic honors from Southern Illinois University are better representations of my maturity as a scholar, and my ability to perform well in an academic situation. Nonetheless, I have studied conscientiously for a more representative score, sitting the GRE exam once again. The field of Public Health is inherently multidisciplinary. I bring with me multiple degrees from an academic background that reflects the many areas encompassed by Public Health: pre-medicine, environmental science, health care management, and public administration.
I began working in the federal sector as a Quality Control Manager and Project Data Analyst for the FDA, where helping people and healthcare organizations convinced me of my passion for the field of Public Health. Secondly, I worked in the federal sector with the US Department of Health and Human Services as an Executive Director Assistant to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID). As a public servant, I served as a liaison between the Department and the White House, producing reports for the President on intellectual disabilities, and was able to provide health information to socio-economically disadvantaged populations.
As a volunteer, I assist HIV/AIDS and cancer sufferers with their personal affairs and serve as a companion to them during their illnesses. In recent months, I have volunteered with the Administration for Children and Families, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program, where I have learned how victims can become certified to receive federally funded benefits and services, so they can rebuild their lives safely. With the Administration for Native Americans, I have helped to plan, design, implement, and promote Native Americans’ need for economic and social self-sufficiency. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Disability and the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Neurological Restoration have all shown me how these groups work to improve the quality of life of the people they serve, the level of functioning, as well as occupational therapy. I have helped various agencies work to improve access to care, encourage medical innovation and research as well as remaining vigilant in terms of medical ethics.
In terms of my research focus, I intend to focus on the area of disease and behavioral research. My academic background in pre-med, and myriad volunteer hours, especially at Washington Hospital Center with HIV positive patients, where I provided educational programming on the disease, have all contributed to the foundation for my research in the future. I look forward to identifying a need, designing a project to meet that need, implementing the project, and then assessing its success and where there is room for further development.
I worked with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Neurological Restoration and helped to organize their conference on the impact of DBS, brain pacemakers, on a patient’s quality of life, level of functioning, and ability to return to work. Additionally, I spent five years with the FDA, performing numerous scientific reviews of research projects, increasing my knowledge of real-world issues and their formal elements. My work with the FDA was very detail-oriented and heavily reliant on information technology and intense involvement with medical, pharmaceutical, and other scientific research projects. For five years with the FDA, I dealt with the collection, storage, and analysis of data in the interest of public health. I enjoyed my work with the FDA immensely but quickly exhausted every path to promotion in the absence of a graduate degree.
The University of ____ is my sole choice for further education. After speaking with Dr. ____, I more fully understand how I am the best fit with the public health program at ____. I will become an American citizen this coming March. Finally, after twelve years of waiting in long lines, the doors of opportunity, academically and professionally, are finally opening for me. The joy I feel is simply overwhelming.
I look forward to the opportunity to develop myself as a creative leader for Public and Community Health and the people I will go on to serve. Your time and consideration are appreciated, and I eagerly await a personal interview.
PHD Public and Community Health