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End of Year Reflection

End of Year Reflection

Question: What would you tell yourself if you could travel back to the beginning of your freshman year?

If I could travel back to September, the first thing that I would tell myself is to enjoy every moment of the struggles that I am going to go through. Whether it is studying for a difficult exam, doing poorly on an assignment or waking up for an 8 AM lab, everything is a new learning experience. To elaborate on that, I have certainly learned that “learning from your mistakes” is not just something that my mother tells me to make me feel better, rather it is a reality.

Another thing that I would tell myself is to not become over involved. There are so many activities and organizations available on campus and during the first couple weeks it seems as though there is almost a competition of who can join the most things. I would tell myself to focus on a couple organizations that truly matter to me and not many different ones where I will not be devoting all of my energy and potential.

Finally, I would tell myself to be open to new experiences. Every time that I thought I had my future goal set, something new would pop up that I found interesting. Be open to these new things!

My freshman year at the University of Michigan and in the Health Sciences Scholars Program was everything I expected it to be and more. Looking forward to next year!

First, Do No Harm

First, Do No Harm

Some people think that they are doing “good” for people because they believe there is a big discovery or reward for society behind a study they are conducting. Many studies that people conduct could actually present some important data, but the means in which they are conducted can ruin the credibility of the study. For example, the various studies that the Nazis conducted were meant to advance their military. The people that were conducting the studies truly thought they were doing something good for the nation of Germany. However, the way that the conducted the studies and the racism they used to select the participants was horrible and completely ruins the validity of the results.

One of the readings we did was about Dr. Fata, an oncologist, that had the complete opposite mentality. He was giving chemotherapy to those who didn’t have cancer and he gave too much chemotherapy for those who did have cancer. He let money step in front of his morals and that is why this happened. I experienced the impact of Dr. Fata’s harm first-hand as my father was one of his patients. My father did have cancer, but he reduced the quality of his life before he passed away from the disease because of the excess chemotherapy. Had Dr. Fata kept the saying “do no harm” in mind, the final years with my father could have been much more enjoyable. I will always keep this in mind as a doctor and it really highlights the fact that doing no harm is the first thing a doctor needs to consider.

Finally, it is important that we discuss these topics so similar events never happen again. As the saying goes, history certainly does repeat itself, but in harmful medical practices, I hope we can prove that wrong.

End of Semester Reflection

End of Semester Reflection

I feel as though I have changed a lot as a pre-health student throughout the course of the semester. Coming into this year, I was not exactly sure if I liked the health field and if it was something I could see myself in for the remainder of my life. In my letter to myself, I wrote “I am excited to being my freshman year at the University of Michigan, but I really do not know what career I see myself in.” However, through my observations and the various speakers that came in, I decided that health care is something I was to pursue. I liked the variety of speakers that we had because I got to experience a little bit of many fields. I also learned that there is more to the health field than doctors and nurses. Public health was something I always heard of, but did not understand. Throughout this semester, I acquired a lot of knowledge on what public health really is.

I am exited for what next semester has to offer. One of my main goals for next semester is to continue to narrow down the specific career that I want to specialize in. I also want to shadow a dentist because that is a career that I have been interested in since I was four years old. Finally, I want to simply learn as much as possible about topics that I am uninformed about. Some examples of topics I was uninformed about from this semester was the Affordable Care Act and LGBTQ health. I now feel like I know much more about the which makes me happy.

Health Disparities & Unconscious Bias

Health Disparities & Unconscious Bias

The Institute of Medicine defines The Ecological Model as “a model of health that emphasizes the linkages and relationships among multiple factors (or determinants) affecting health.” Within this model, there are several different levels: social, community, institutional, interpersonal, and individual.

When looking deeper into the health care system, it is evident that health disparities exist. One example of a health care disparity is that low-income individuals receive poorer quality care and experience worse health outcomes. This fits into the Social Ecological Model because initially, an individual experiences poor care or even has an outcome as severe as death. After this happens, it spreads to the interpersonal level where the family of the individual is experiencing similar outcomes. It goes a step further when it is seen in the institutional level.

Sadly, this disparity exists against the socio-economically challenged because in our society those who have the most generally do not need the most. Furthermore, society may view those who are not very wealthy as less important and in result, the disparity is formed.

There are many interventions that can be/are done to help reduce the magnitude of health disparities against the socio-economically challenged. One is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which started an initiative called “Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change to encourage, evaluate, and disseminate new interventions to reduce disparities” (www.solvingdisparities.org). RWJF acts on the community/social level of the SEM and it is now in its fourth year.