I hold a degree in Electrical Engineering and, during my studies, became involved in work related to medical imaging, which I found most fascinating. However, I realized that I saw a minimal ‘picture’ of the patients. I became more interested in the people behind the images than the images themselves; I wanted to know more. An unexpected vocation for medicine resulted, and I went on to finish medical school and become a doctor in my native Iran.
Many of the skills required of a sound engineer are also those called for in medicine: an analytical approach to problems, curiosity, the determination, and skill to diagnose the causes of pain accurately, and skill in establishing relationships between unrelated data. An engineering career does not offer substantial interaction with others and the opportunity to be of direct help to them. I do not regret my engineering study and have found this background especially useful in my study of medicine.
I have carefully considered the area of work that will set me on the most satisfying career path and enable me to be most beneficial to the community. Pediatrics is the specialty that meets both requirements. In 1990, when I was a teenager, there was a massive earthquake in my home country of Iran, during which many children were orphaned. I spent the entire summer at a camp for orphans, helping the children come to terms with their situation, playing with them, and trying to entertain them. It was tough, but it aroused my great empathy with children and developed my ability to communicate with them effectively. As a result of this experience, I undertook voluntary work at a hospital for children for seven years, organizing and leading various activities for the children.
Distressed children cannot always verbalize their feelings, and I have acquired some skill in reading non-verbal ‘signals’ that I believe is highly relevant to this specialty. I have also learned to concentrate on helping the children rather than my feelings. I can think of no better way to use my skills and knowledge than to provide the best care to sick children.
I am an experienced, effective, and enthusiastic researcher. I have the potential to make a significant contribution to research in pediatrics, and I am especially interested in primary care and public health.
I have seen many doctors at work during my MD program and volunteer activities. These have ranged from the merely competent to the excellent. I conclude that the physician’s attitude to their patients separates the extraordinary from the rest. Exceptional physicians care about their patients rather than simply caring for them. Their patients intuitively realize that this is so Excellent physicians treat every patient as an individual, worthy of their respect and not as a mere ‘bundle of symptoms’ I am determined to be an excellent pediatric physician; I need to make a living but, more importantly, I want to make a difference, especially in the lives of children.
I am among the founders of ‘The Women’s Action Network,’ an organization that assists women from developing nations. This experience has enhanced my communication, leadership, and organizational skills.
I am fully aware of the need for cultural sensitivity in health care provision and, most significantly, in pediatrics. I have lived in Iran, Canada, and the United States and know what it is to adjust to a new and unfamiliar culture. I speak Farsi as well as English and some German. I have happily studied and worked with people of many cultural and social backgrounds and enjoy doing so; I consider myself exceptionally culturally aware and sensitive.
I am academically able, an experienced researcher, intellectually curious, and an excellent communicator with substantial experience interacting with sick and distressed children.
Residency in Pediatrics Personal Statement