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MPH Public Health Epidemiology

December 28, 2012

Suffering, poverty, malnutrition and an ineffective health care system are things that most Americans will never experience.  Before I was eighteen, I had seen all four.  I was born in Nicaragua and lived through all of these things, and came to America to become a force for change in my homeland.  My degree choice has been molded by events I’ve been caught up in: high rates of malaria, parasitic diseases and much more.  Combined with this is the high incidence of natural disasters – landslides, hurricanes, earthquakes - which continually test the infrastructure of Nicaragua and fragile economy.

 My education goes well beyond the classroom.  While many were enjoying their summer vacation I was volunteering at a church in Nicaragua where my bilingual background was put to constructive use.  I wanted to help, to facilitate the cessation of suffering in my community.  While I am not a doctor, by working with medical professionals and patients, I became familiar with treatment regimens, pharmaceuticals and their uses.  It was one of my duties to transcribe from English to Spanish, detailed and accurate descriptions of medications and treatment protocols and then verbally explain their uses to the patient.  This also greatly aided my interpersonal skills, my confidence and ability to work in a multidisciplinary team environment.  And conversing with the knowledgeable medical volunteers, veritably conducting an externship, I was able to get an in-depth look into the assorted difficulties my community was experiencing, thereby laying groundwork for my future in Epidemiology. Pursuing an MPH degree with an Epidemiology concentration, I will be better able to assess and remove the various risk factors that threaten the general health of the people of Nicaragua by working with governmental institutions.  It is my hope that through my work, public health practice and policies can be improved be it through intensive field research, education or community leadership or a combination thereof.  Particularly, there needs to be a strong response and re-working of Nicaragua’s Master Health Plan, which has seen marked failures and even increases in maternal mortality rates.

 My strong background in Microbiology and Chemistry, and mathematical skills sharpened through my work tutoring in these subjects will prove invaluable as I enter into an MPH program of study.  I truly love the sciences as well as math, and working with people of diverse backgrounds.  During my time as a Math and Science tutor for students with special needs, I have met people of many different backgrounds, including my own, and found I could relate to them all.  Working with these unique students has only increased my desire to help the needy at all costs. 

 Our ambitions and our dreams are the things that keep us moving forward.  I cannot go forward without thinking of those who are in need.  I know of places in my homeland where governmental subsidies don’t or can’t reach, and others where they reach but don’t scratch the surface of need.  There is no doubt in my mind that my future is in helping people survive.

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