I recently finished my 3rd year of medical school and am currently a research fellow in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. My research is focused on analyzing the cytokine profiles in burn victims following stem cell therapy. Below is my personal statement that I submitted when I was applying to medical school.
I believe some of the most fulfilling things in life can only be achieved through hard work, perseverance and dedication. It has been my research experiences, interactions with doctors and a medical mission to Nicaragua that have shaped my desire to continue my scholarly preparation to become a Physician Scientist.
Realizing that the realm of scientific inquiry fascinated me in high school, I enrolled at Florida International University (FIU) with the intention of pursuing a Ph.D. Being able to challenge my creativity and ask fundamental questions that would allow me to be at the forefront of scientific discovery fascinated me. However, it was my curiosity for the practical application of the research findings to improve the lives of people that guided my interests. During my undergraduate years at FIU, I was able to develop those interests by conducting biomedical research as a McNair Fellow and MARC*U-STAR scholar. Through these programs, I was able to participate in summer research fellowships at some of the best institutions. At the University of California, Berkeley, I worked with a research group focused on understanding the biochemical regulation of stem cell regeneration. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I explored signaling cascades that are dysregulated in cancer cells, and throughout my remaining academic years, I worked in a lab at FIU focused on understanding the oncolytic properties of double-stranded RNA viruses. Although thrilled at the excitement that came with scientific discovery, I felt that I needed to interact with the people who required these discoveries the most; thus, I began to think that a career in translational medicine might be the most appropriate choice for me.
To gain a better perspective of clinical science and medicine, I volunteered to shadow a family practitioner, a neurologist, and a gastroenterologist. In doing so, I have come to understand the importance of forming a bond between a doctor and a patient. Simply by listening and understanding, the doctors were able to provide a level of comfort and security for their patients. More importantly, I witnessed the happiness that emanated from the patients as they felt valued, while the doctors were able to assess the proper treatments for their ailments. I found this to be sincerely gratifying and realized how I could consolidate my passion for science and interacting with people in such a way that I could make a meaningful contribution in people’s lives. Although drawn to the medical field, I was most disheartened by the large number of diseases that had no cures, some of which were just being treated symptomatically.
On another note, being able to speak Spanish awakened me to the fact that another problem in health care today is not one of technology, but rather one of access. This was made obvious to me while working as a translator for English speaking doctors in Miami as well as volunteering at the Hospital Aleman Nicaraguense in Managua, Nicaragua. Walking into a space of the hot hospital that was designated as a combined waiting and operating room filled with families, I was grieved by the people’s circumstances. As I studied the chest X-rays of patients with an advanced stage of tuberculosis, I contemplated how the patients prognoses would have had been different if they had sought medical care sooner. Unfortunately, not every Nicaraguan can afford the journey to the hospital when required the sacrifice a day’s wage. These experiences provided me with a deep appreciation for preventive medicine, inspiring me to one day develop innovations that would increase the accessibility of medicine to underserved populations.
My research experiences have fostered my intellectual development as well as my analytical and critical thinking skills. From my cross-cultural experiences, I have refined my ability to closely relate to others. Through my structured and unstructured learning experiences in research and with physicians, I understand how advances in scientific research are necessary for the progression of medicine. Getting an M.D./Ph.D. will provide me with the necessary training to fill the gaps in medicine’s current knowledge to cure diseases and increase the accessibility of medicine worldwide. As a scientist, I hope to understand the molecular mechanisms of diseases so that I can discover solutions. As an aspiring physician, I want to observe disease firsthand and allow my patient interactions to inspire and enlighten my research. I desire to interact with people directly and utilize my discoveries to improve their lives. As a Physician Scientist, I welcome the opportunity to satisfy my hunger for taking solutions from the laboratory and applying them to a clinical setting. As I am enriched by my patient interactions, my patients will benefit from the cutting edge research and innovations that I will be able to offer them. Such rigorous training as a Physician Scientist will provide the foundation for all of my future personal and professional endeavors.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Toronto, MIT (fellowship), UC Berkeley (fellowship), FIU, Cornell Med (Fellowship) - Bachelors, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: University of Miami School of Medicine - PHD, Medical Doctorate
I like weight lifting, traveling, I'm a big foodie, conducting scientific research, dancing, scuba diving.
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Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Don't be afraid to connect and understand your students! Forming that bond will ultimately improve the student's grasp of the information that you are teaching them.