I was raised in a small town in Russia, but my education took me away to the big city from the age of fifteen forward to work and study. I studied hard and eventually became a practicing ophthalmologist. For years, I was a teenager alone in Moscow, independent, self-supporting, and giving everything to my career in medicine.
My decision to enter medicine was a coalescence of several driving forces, especially my admiration and respect for the noble work of doctors and my keen appreciation for advances in medicine. The ability to cure disease has long been my primary fascination. As a child living through the illnesses of my grandparents, I wanted to be able to do something to help them. Later, as a medical student, my interest in surgery took flight when my grandfather needed vitreoretinal surgery in the hospital due to his diabetic retinopathy. I went with him and supported him and even made connections: my grandfather’s ophthalmologist would later introduce me to Professor XXXX at Moscow’s Institute of Eye Disease, and he went on to become a significant mentor, introducing me to primary texts and guiding the continuing complexity of my reading. I attended clinics with him, watched him in the operating room, and felt at home with his procedures and the scientific method.
As I entered my third year of medical studies, I knew I wanted to find a specialty that would allow me to work directly with patients. I tried to master a field that would facilitate my in-depth exploration of innovative technologies. I became a member of the Students Ophthalmology Society, which led to my making a presentation at a regional conference that helped to illustrate many of the opportunities presented by careers in Ophthalmology. My fourth-year Ophthalmology rotation confirmed my commitment to this extraordinary window of medicine. I chose Ophthalmology because of its intimate relationships with internal medicine, rheumatology, endocrinology, neurology, surgery, pediatrics, and genetics. While small, the visual system is extraordinarily complex, with a vast spectrum of disease processes and abnormalities.
I earned a Ph.D. in Ophthalmology in Russia, in addition to the M.D., primarily because I hoped to stay engaged on some level with research opportunities throughout my career. Frankly, I long for the exciting days of my residency at the Moscow Eye Disease Institute, doing extensive research into proliferative diseases of the eye, such as PDR, ROP, and post-traumatic retinopathy. We were looking for the initial (crucial) path mechanism of all these proliferative diseases. I also studied the effects of various rates of oxygen administration on the cell proliferative activity of retinal cells.
During my international internship in Germany at the Eye Clinic of XXXX University, I had a rotation in general ophthalmology under Professor XXXX and another in the Vitreoretinal Department with Professor XXXX. Everything I learned -- from optics and anterior segment to glaucoma, plastics, retina, and neuro-ophthalmology -- fascinated me. I experienced the day-to-day activities of an ophthalmologist in a prominent academic center for two years. It was here that I became a fully accredited eye doctor.
I have not worked as a medical doctor since I finished my internship in Germany with the Eye Clinic of Cologne University three years ago. Since then, I have made my home in Brooklyn after marrying an American man; I have a wonderful family and now feel very strongly that it is time for me to fully return to my professional aspirations in America after having distinguished myself professionally in Russia, Iceland, and Germany. I now have my family affairs arranged in such a way to be able to give my all to my professional position.
I have made solid progress with my USMLE; while I have not attained scores as high as I would have liked, this has much to do with the fact that my education was in Russian, and my latest position as a medical doctor was in German. However, I have made an enormous stride in my English ability and feel qualified for a residency position. Being very friendly is one of my significant assets, and I am a highly self-motivated person with a great passion for my work. I hope to be interviewed for your outstanding program.
Residency in Ophthalmology Personal Statement