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IM Residency, Ukraine, Community Hospital

December 31, 2012

We never forget where we come from, our beginnings however humble, the precious few years of our childhood that define who we are – truly are – at heart.  As a child growing up in Kiev, I remember sitting at my grandmother’s knee, watching as she injected herself with insulin.  I promised her that someday I would find a cure for her Diabetes.  In school, I excelled in the sciences, earning a top five percent position in my medical school, achieving my MD.

While life took me into a torrent of events, immersed in the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and subsequent veritable disintegration of the medical service industry, my medical internship unfinished, I did what I could to survive.  Indeed, I was very successful, albeit only financially, and rode the wave of entrepreneurs, developing my business, even educating myself as a lawyer as well to augment my endeavors.  But it was not me, could never be what defined who I was.  Today, I am returning to my roots, building on my foundation in medicine, and a promise I made to myself to at last make valuable contributions to the only field I have ever actually loved.

 I was first introduced to Internal Medicine during my internship rotations.  I was fascinated by the sheer diversity of cases and the amount of direct patient contact.  The approach of dealing with the patient as a totality struck me as being sensible, logical, and, as a result, Internal Medicine became the field in which I wanted to explore in greater depth.  Throughout my education, I steadfastly believed that a good physician must be committed to excellence in all aspects of healthcare, be it medical education, patient care or research.  And what greater satisfaction in my career could I have than to be the primary medical caregiver to a patient, as an Internist?

 In order to bring my plans to fruition, I require a challenging residency program, one with approximately two attending physicians per resident, giving me ample exposure to a greater diversity of cases than in lighter programs.  It is understood that what one takes away from a residency assignment is key to the type of practice you are aiming for.  I will need an excellent grounding and this being said, I am looking to pursue exposure to as many advanced cases as possible.

 Proof of my abilities is evident in my USMLE scores.  But more than this, I bring with me, aside from being trilingual, many skills and abilities that will translate effectively to my medical career being mature, having worked in a deadline and detail-oriented environment, and within multidisciplinary teams of professionals.  During my medical education, I was very active in my medical pursuits, contributing to institute students’ scientific research society projects, served as a doctor assistant during my military service in Kazakhstan, and worked as well as volunteered in clinics including the Kiev Emergency Hospital, Kiev Institute of Neurosurgery and Kiev Institute of Endocrinology.  In truth, the latter reflects the specialty I would like to pursue in my fellowship.

 In terms of my future in medicine, I anticipate serving as a specialist in a community hospital, but wherever I go, it must be where I can do the greatest amount of good works, increasing the amelioration of lives.  Upon completing my medical education, returning to Kiev is a distinct possibility, perhaps spearheading medical mission work, bringing my fresh, world-class training to help bolster the woefully inadequate medical system, worse in places than when under Soviet tutelage, and fraught with corruption at all levels.  There are many areas to address - the current epidemics of TB, HIV, HepC - realities that only underscore a male life expectancy of only 63 years in the Ukraine.

 I heard a quote from Joseph Addison that has never made more sense than today: “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”  I never forgot what it means to dream of what I always yearned to be and am certain that I am at last exactly where I need to be.

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