If preventative measures are not taken, the aging baby-boomer generation will metamorphose into a skilled-care black hole that will demolish the nation’s economy as these individuals reach senior-citizen status. I aspire to help prevent this catastrophe and improve the lives of the elderly and their loved ones.
It is often said that one’s philosophy is defined by her experiences and accomplishments. This summer I participated in the Summer Medical and Research Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine. When I wasn’t patch-clamping neurons in the lab, I volunteered at Texas Children’s Hospital where my privilege was to provide companionship for children. During my first week of volunteering, I was holding a tiny baby in my arms. As she clutched my fingers I realized that she depended on me and trusted in me. I also realized that I have been blessed with the opportunity to improve her future… and that of humankind.
Although I experienced such a recent revelation, my initial desire to enter medicine was spawned years ago not by an infant, but by a group of elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in my local hospital at which I was a volunteer. I was in absolute awe of the disease and began to study it in detail. Soon my emotional interest in the disease was integrated with the knowledge that this $45 billion dollar-a-year vacuum was a time bomb ready to explode as the baby-boomer generation aged. I realized that if such a process were to occur, our nation, its health care system, and its economy, would be crippled.
Logically, as any young scientist would do, I set out to “cure” the disease. Subsequently, I read books on the disease as well as hundreds of journal articles. During my sophomore year, I noticed a correlation between certain processes in the disease and formulated a hypothesis on the initial mechanisms of the disease. I wrote researchers and talked to my own professors about my ideas, and none found faults. Subsequently, I nurtured the hypothesis and developed it to such a complexity that my professors felt it merited presentation at a symposium. I presented it and as a result this idea is cited in a physiological psychology publication.
The following summer I was employed at Washington University School of Medicine where I was involved in studying the physiological affects of NMDA antagonists. While there, I developed an experimental protocol which submitted as a grant proposal to Missouri Academy of Sciences. I was awarded the grant and, at Northeast, carried out a complex study in which I had to synthesize non-commercially available organic chemicals, inject mice with a modulated antigen, process their brains, and measure choline levels utilizing gas hromatography. I presented my results at a state wide convention and received second place out of the top-ten finalists in biological research who wereallowed to presen t at this convention. Subsequently, my research appears in the Journal of the Missouri Academy of Sciences.
This chronologically leads me to the Baylor SMART program which I participated in this last summer. I was given my own very challenging project involving patch-clamping and lab space in which I was able to carry this out. After working days and nights, 6 to 7 days a week for ten weeks, I was able to complete this project with striking results. Additionally, I attended daily seminars on all aspects of medicine, went on doctor’s rounds, and volunteered at Texas Children’s Hospital.
I hope that the bench-work I have completed and my recent experience as a journalist will provide me with the life-long learning skills and communication skills necessary for today’s physician. Compassion is the fundamental characteristic of a true healer; it is what motivated me to become a physician and this fire burns ever deeper within my soul. While compassion is a building block, a love for the science of medicine is also necessary to be a good physician. I love science and I love people; they are mutually dependent. I have never been more happy nor more content with my purpose in life.