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Residency Emergency Medicine, Indian Woman

August 15, 2015

I am applying to enter the Medical Residency Program in Emergency Medicine at____because I feel it offers the most diverse and inclusive setting in which to become immersed in the cutting-edge practice of emergency medicine. I deeply admire the multifaceted approach to the art and science of this highly challenging field. As a woman of Asian ancestry, inclusivity is highly important to me and I very much appreciate the way in which your program provides an opportunity for hands-on training with some of the brightest and best minds in emergency medicine.

I was born in India to parents who always encouraged me to strive for personal and professional excellence. My father was an aeronautical engineer and my mother a zoology professor, so science related subjects were second nature for me. I have fond memories sitting around the table eating my mom’s delicious vegetarian biryani, discussing rocket science and animal dissections. This stirred up an inquisitive curiosity in scientific matters that remain with me until today.

One especially tragic event was of instrumental importance in the shaping of my vocational orientation.  Up until this time, I had only a general interest in scientific matters and was not yet certain of the best manner of channeling my interests. I was a part of the social service league in my high school and we made regular visits to a non-profit health center in Bhopal, dedicated to the treatment of survivors of the gas tragedy that occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in 1984. I was astonished to learn that this event still continued to afflict thousands of people with chronic diseases, cancers and congenital disorders. I observed the selfless dedication and hard work of doctors working in this clinic and quickly came to realize that nothing would bring me as close to humanity as providing care to others. I thereby decided to pursue a career in medicine which would enable me to treat patients and provide me with constant intellectual challenges.

Through much hard work and persistence, I was accepted into a medical college associated with the largest medical center in central India. This setting provided a vast, diverse and highly stimulating environment in which to learn and apply what I was learning in medical school to real life.  During my clinical rotations, I was amazed to see how subtle changes in clinical signs and symptoms could lead to different interpretations, thus having a profound effect on case management. 

During my third year of medical school I was assigned a family in a nearby rural area. I looked after the health aspects of the family which varied widely as there were children and senior citizens with different health needs. During the process, I discovered that the primary male bread winner of the family was a defaulter case of tuberculosis and had stopped taking treatment due to financial reasons. I helped him enroll into Direct Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) which provided a cost effective treatment for him. Monitoring his treatment compliance and ensuring his recovery, I enjoyed each and every step leading to restoration of his health. This step by step journey underscored the importance of a long term doctor- patient relationship.

Later, upon graduation, I successfully passed the USMLE and was accepted into the residency program at the Veterans Hospital in the Bronx, New York City. In this way, I could serve the veterans of the country as well as the less fortunate members of the Bronx, most without health insurance, seeking medical treatment out of acute desperation. From the very beginning, I was fascinated by the role of emergency medicine physicians in making the first diagnosis, and providing the first treatment to a patient in need of acute medical care.

Coming from a country where I did not have much exposure into the horizons of EM, I decided to take my first elective in the ER. The challenge of being at the forefront to meet, evaluate, and treat a patient excited me greatly. I especially thrived on the excitement of being busy from the time I entered the hospital to the end of my shift in ER. The hours were long, but they passed quickly with the knowledge that I was making a difference in each patient's life. Among my Internal Medicine residency rotations as well, I especially loved being a part of the ICU, and this helped to prepare me for the fast pace of the ER and provided me with an opportunity to finely hone my procedural skills, combining careful workup with efficiency, accuracy, and compassion. Our brain storming research on early goal directed therapy in sepsis and its implementation in the ICU, left me stunned about the opportunities of research in ER and its implications. I then decided to join a research project on the importance of intermediate lactate levels in predicting the prognosis of septic patients.

Entering the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at your institution will enable me to grow in my professional skills and especially my capacity for assessment. Someday, as the doors open, I would like to return to India to conduct training programs for other physicians. I want to thank you for considering my application.

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