PracticeMatch Empowered Physician Scholarship

Reader's Choice Awards Contest 2017

We received so many great applications and essays that we have decided to include the top essays in the announcement as honorable mention, and also allow them to compete in a "Readers' Choice" award. Please read the below essays and cast your vote —the winner gets a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

Punnett Square, Curiosity and Human Compassion

At some point in our lives, most of us will experience that spark; that spark of inspiration that sends us hurtling toward our future passion. My spark was a Punnett Square. As a young girl, my father, a science professor, would draw Punnett Squares on napkins at the dinner table and explain to me why I had brown hair and grey eyes. Even then, I wanted to know how the human body worked and why it worked the way it did. My curiosity was encouraged and that spark of inspiration set off a wildfire. Science and health were my passions. My second spark of inspiration came when I decided to try out shadowing physicians. It was in a pediatric office, sitting with a young patient and his mother that spoke no English that I realized the true key behind being a physician. This key was an aspect of a career that I realized I never wanted to be without. The key was human compassion. Human compassion is equally important, if not more so, to the career of a physician than even the understanding of human health. While observing the physician work with this young boy and his mother, I witnessed the relief on the mother's face as the physician worked with her to communicate and demonstrated to her that he would care for her son, despite language barriers and other difficulties. Since that day, I have aspired to become a physician that will not only heal the physical pains of my patients, but to make them feel heard and cared for as well. As I have shadowed physicians more and more, I have continually witnessed the impact of having a trusting, meaningful relationship with one's doctor. Being a physician means having a career in which you can provide comfort from both the physical pain and the mental worries.

As I continue my education, I pause to reflect upon how I might use the knowledge I have acquired to make the lives of others better. Aside from the obvious ways in which I will improve the health of my patients, I hope to become a positive role model and leader within my community. As a young female, I hope to use my role as a professional as a means of encouraging young girls to pursue careers in the sciences. I hope to one day be a wife and mother, and an active participant in community events and projects alongside my family. I look forward to working with schools to provide basic lifesaving technique lessons to students, and holding free clinics within the community for the underserved. After studying Spanish for eight years and focusing my shadowing experiences in underserved areas, I hope to continue this passion and one day open a free Spanish speaking clinic in an area greatly in need. Though I am just now embarking on my medical journey, I have many dreams and goals ahead of me. It is with great warmth and love that I look back on my first Punnett Square, and with great anticipation that I look forward to my future.

Mackinzie McDaniel

To Interpret the Human Story...

Before medical school, I had a career in global health. I was a public health and development professional for 10 years, managing health projects with organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). I spent some time studying, designing, managing, and implementing HIV preventive programs to curb risky behavior and combat the disease in the US, Africa, and Caribbean. I also work to build health care capacity in Zambia by developing and training health care professionals in management and leadership skills. In 2009, I even co-founded an international nonprofit organization - Focal Point Global - that has a couple projects focused on youth HIV prevention. These work experiences peaked my interest in exploring medicine and working to improve people's health directly.

Though I applied and was glad to be in medical school at Caribbean Medical University, I never thought it would be easy. I knew it would be hard and a long road. While in medical school, I had to adjust to an environment with limited basic resources and the vigorous medical school study schedule. I relied upon my passion, diligence, and dedication as qualities needed to persevere in my academic coursework and thrive in a rich but economically striped country. Now, I am in my third year in medical school in Chicago. I have begun my clinical coursework of medical school which includes rotations in various medical specialties in different hospitals in the Chicago area. I have enjoyed learning about how and why humans function and develop. I often times find myself thinking about my time doing HIV awareness and prevention projects interacting with socioeconomically diverse populations and wondering about psychiatry and mental health.

Fortunately, I was able to complete this summer the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Summer Institute in Psychiatry. The medical school provided an all-expense paid competitive program to accepted students. The program was a great opportunity to get early exposure to understand, assess, and interpret the human story. It was an activity full week to get a balance of lecture and clinical exposure to learn what psychiatry truly entails. Through this experience, I learned about the vast offerings of psychiatry through interactions with leading experts in the field. In addition, I met some wonderful medical students from whom I have learned a great deal, and vice versa. This experience allowed for deepening appreciation for all of the sub-specialties psychiatry has to offer and encouraged me to pursue psychiatry as my future medical career.

This meaningful experience at VCU School of Medicine Summer Institute in Psychiatry, challenged me to continue to seek the tools to finish my medical school journey to becoming an exceptional psychiatrist for underserved, immigrant, and youth communities, with whom I have previously worked. Therefore, I sincerely request your consideration as a PracticeMatch Empowered Providers Scholarship recipient. Though medical school has been a high cost financially, I know with PracticeMatch Empowered Providers assistance I can continue my pursuit in becoming a physician.

Hassanatu Blake

Foster an Environment of Tolerance and Cultural Competency

My maternal grandmother always instilled in me that I should choose a profession where I would be able to touch the lives of many people and make a lasting contribution to society. She was a nursing assistant and would often share with me the experiences that she had with many of her patients. Her face would light up as she gave a detailed synopsis of the day's events. Although her patients were elderly, she seemed to give them a youthful spirit just by being a part of their lives and caring for them. Her compassion and dedication to helping others in need emanated throughout my childhood and inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field. I realized that like her, I wanted to serve others while actively managing their health issues.

Growing up in an underserved area, I have witnessed the barriers that many people face when trying to access care. As a physician, I plan to work in an academic hospital and educate current and future healthcare providers while learning from them as well on the disparities that exist in local communities to help foster an environment of tolerance and cultural competency so that we are better able to understand the obstacles that patients face and improve their quality of life. It is important to volunteer my time directly to the community because I believe that health is much more than just the absence of disease. It is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. By tackling these different components of health, I can make a positive impact on someone in and out of the hospital. I currently volunteer at a local soup kitchen that provides food to the homeless as well as two clinics that service uninsured populations and women who have been victims of intimate partner violence. Within these experiences, I am part of a team that is truly invested in the well-being of others and takes a more holistic approach to improving health. I plan to continue my volunteering efforts when I am a physician so that I can help as many people as possible.

Medicine has the ability to heal the sick, connect loved ones, and make a real difference in the lives of many people. It is an honor and a privilege to put someone else's needs before my own and I gladly take on that responsibility knowing that I am making a positive impact. I constantly remind myself that in the future I will be treating people and not an illness. By reminding myself of the humanity in medicine, it will allow me to be more sensitive to the needs of patients and assure them that I am truly invested in their well-being. I am excited and grateful that I am pursuing my childhood dream and will keep with me the experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. Through my efforts, I hope to exemplify the true meaning of medicine: compassion, kindness, humility, and service.

Crystal Taylor

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