The chief reason I wish to participate in the program is that it offers me the opportunity to put into active practice the principles that motivated me to pursue medicine.
The initial impetus for my passion for medicine and public health emerged from my status as the child of immigrant physicians. I am extraordinarily grateful to my parents for the life they have offered me. However, as I aged and took my own steps into medicine, I came to frequently question my responsibility as a beneficiary of a brain drain. Motivated by this, I increasingly wanted to find ways to work in the interest of health equity. Reading the accounts of previous participants in the program this seems like the best possible opportunity to develop the practical skills needed to translate this objective from being the centerpiece of my written and student organizational leadership into direct service. Beyond my own life and family, my first great hero in medicine was an epidemiologist. The first writing I ever got published was titled Joseph Goldberger: epidemiology’s unsung hero. It was through the life of Dr. Goldberger that I learned the capability of doctors to work systemically rather than patient by patient. It was this new understanding that later prompted my work advocating for increased legal rights for current and former TB patients and regarding Sickle Cell in Chicago itself. To be able to engage in the work of epidemiology even if undoubtedly on a smaller and less impactful scale than my hero is something I view as an enormous privilege that I must take every opportunity to pursue. A second major reason for my interest in the program is a genuine belief that I can take full advantage of the opportunity. During my pre-clinical years, I took and excelled in elective global health epidemiology course work. I supplemented this during my clinical year with electives in clinical and anatomic pathology, infectious disease, and molecular pathology in addition to my regular required clinical rotations. Beyond this, I have already contributed to the field coauthoring the paper Geographic Disparities in Reported US Amyloidosis Mortality From 1979 to 2015: Potential Underdetection of Cardiac Amyloidosis and having my writing regarding the value of treating soil-based helminths in controlling TB accepted for publication by the Pathologist. A further reason I am interested in the program is my profound admiration for the CDC, its institutional principles, and the key role it plays in American soft power.
My plans after medical school and how I plan to utilize the skills I hope to gain from the program are inextricably linked. In the fall of 2020, I will be applying to pathology residency programs. While many factors contribute to my love of pathology including its foundational role in modern medicine and the abundant opportunities to remain involved with medical school teaching what convinced me to commit to this path over internal medicine is the fact that pathologists often find themselves at the forefront of discovery. This is perhaps best embodied and explicitly acknowledged by the CDC’s own Infectious Disease Pathology branch. Ultimately, I would hope that the skills I could gain in the elective would serve as the first step in developing the expertise needed to do this kind of work at the highest level possible. Another significant vision I have for my career is to help in the development of pathology resources as part of the advancement of health infrastructure globally. This is currently a vital unmet need in the global healthcare space. It is therefore important that I have an understanding of what kind of diagnostic resources currently exist in settings I have never before considered, something which many of the previous students’ experiences seem to reflect. Even if I remain in Atlanta being surrounded by experts, this type of experience will be invaluable. While many of the residency programs at the top of my list have global health pathology tracks I doubt any can offer better insight than an experience at the CDC.
Over the past 8 years, a vision of my desired future has slowly taken shape as I fell in love with medicine, learned its power to profoundly shape not only individual lives but communities and nations, made this understanding the center of my academic and extracurricular work and now through pathology have found what I believe is the perfect specialty to carry these principles to their apogee. I have no doubt the epidemiology fellowship is a key step in this process.