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Community Medicine Personal Statement #1

Shabbat in Jerusalem: harmonious voices celebrating over a bountiful meal juxtaposed against overcrowding, mildew stained walls and inadequate ventilation. My first realization that community health was integral in individual health came when I lived in an orthodox Jewish community in Israel. Objectively, these people lived in poverty in a war torn country under the constant threat of terrorism. However, somehow, they were healthy, happy, educated and able to recognize and support members of the community in need. Through the academic study of community health, I now recognize this phenomenon as social capital- strength of the community resulting in betterment of the individual.
My clinical rotations have served to demonstrate how the absence of social capital and the absence of a strong public health framework can have dire consequences. A lack of primary preventative measures has contributed to gross inflation of the incidence of chronic disease and clinicians are too often left with pharmacotherapy as their primary tool; the societal driving forces of disease are seen as outside their domain. As a physician, I want my proverbial “toolbox” to contain broad and innovative skills that enable me to understand the underlying causes of disease and bring about real change at a population level. I want to develop skills that not only equip me to manage the effects of disease, but also to understand and promote the determinants of health.
My interest in a career in Community Medicine began early in medical school and I have explored the field through electives in Canada and abroad. I chose to complete an additional four-week elective in Ghana where I accompanied local medical students on a community needs assessment in a rural town. There I saw a real appreciation for the power of public health measures. This experience also taught me the importance of knowing cultural customs and norms, as well as having the ability to communicate effectively. I have also undertaken community medicine rotations in rural _______, ______ and ______. In each of these locations I participated in similar public health programs and it was fascinating to see how each program was shaped by the specific needs of the local population. I reinforced my community health experience with a clinical rotation in the Community Health Clinic in ______. This setting proved to be a compelling demonstration of the link between housing, poverty, addiction and clinical medicine. Not one of these issues can be successfully addressed in isolation. Improvement in health for this population requires change in subsidized housing, addiction programs, policing, and education: in other words, it requires a community health perspective.
Treating a population as opposed to individuals requires unique qualities. I possess a multitude of these qualities and my background has provided me with a solid foundation upon which to build these qualities into career skills. As a high school student my desire for a broad international perspective led me to apply and successfully secure a full scholarship to Lester B. Pearson United World College. There, living and learning with students from over 70 countries, I gained invaluable insight into international affairs, cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution. Additionally, I have always enjoyed public speaking and have won numerous awards through high school and university. These oral communication skills were recently put to the test when I co-produced and acted in ______’s premiere performance of the Vagina Monologues. This “crash course” in media relations taught me the importance of social marketing and how to harness the power of the media to distribute a crafted message. Through the sell-out premiere and the greater “V-day” campaign, we raised over $12,000 for charity and heightened awareness about violence against women. On a personal level, it provided a powerful demonstration that I have the ability to recognize a need in the community and provide a new and viable means of change.
Leadership and political insight are also qualities I believe are necessary in a Community Medicine specialist. I have demonstrated leadership ability through roles such as representing students on the _____ Medical Association Board of Directors, as well as leader of the Student Aid Tuition Advocacy Group (STAG). My involvement in the later has led to lobbying government to protect the accessibility of medical education and an independent research project to assess the effects of medical student debt on career choice.
After completing my residency training in Community Medicine, I intend to pursue opportunities in national and international health with specific interests in health promotion, health policy, communicable disease control and medical education. I am looking for a residency program with a strong international focus and the flexibility to include CCFP requirements as well as international electives. _______ is an ideal training location offering a cosmopolitan city, an excellent provincial public health system and, of course, the opportunity to work in a French-speaking environment.
In summary, I am a person who needs to understand the bigger picture, I crave creativity and I want to make a difference. During the process of deciding on a specialty career path, I found a description of Community Medicine that captured my imagination. A doctor described the essence of the discipline as “the ability to dream things that have not been”. I can’t think of a better way to challenge myself and contribute to the health of our population.


Community Medicine Personal Statement #1

 

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About USMLE

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) sponsors USMLE.
The Three Steps of the USMLE
Step 1 tests the important concepts of basic sciences basic to the practice of medicine. It also places special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. Step 1 ensures mastery of the sciences that provide a foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine. It also tests the scientific principles required for maintenance of competence through lifelong learning.
Step 2 CK tests the medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of patient care under supervision. It also includes emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Step 2 CK ensures that due attention is devoted to principles of clinical sciences and basic patient-centered skills.
Step 2 CS tests your capacity to practice and provide good medical service in real-life situations. It also tests your communication skills.
Step 3 tests your medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine. Step 3 provides a final assessment of physicians assuming independent responsibility for delivering general medical care.

 

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