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Author: andrewkassa

If I could go back

If I could go back

If there was one thing that I could go back in time to tell myself at the beginning of freshman year it would, “relax.” You are not going to go all year without doing bad on an exam or class. You will miss an assignment. You will make A LOT of mistake this year. It is important to relax and handle life one problem at a time and learn from your mistakes. Freshman year will not go exactly as planned, and that is fine. College is not the same thing as high school and things will be harder than they were in high school, but you can’t be hard on yourself every time you are not happy with a grade. Also, go out and have fun! School is important but so is your mental health! This year taught me a lot of lesson that I will definitely keep with myself for the rest of undergrad and probably the rest of my life.

Research

Research

What surprised me the most about this lecture was the different types of study designs used in research. In my science classes, I have only been taught the difference between observational or experimental studies. Before this lecture, I did not have any huge misconceptions about research because I have never spent a ton of time thinking about it. However, I was surprised to hear the different examples of studies with ethical problems. It is amazing to think that at any point in time someone thought it was okay to run a study that infected healthy men with syphilis and lied to them about it.

I think that research will definitely play a role in my career. I am currently working in a research lab focused on the treatment of Ewing sarcoma, which is a type of cancer often found in children and teenagers and develops in their bone or soft tissue as a tumor. I hope to continue this research throughout undergrad and possibly into grad school. Even if I do not have my own research project, research will stay play a vital role in my career. Health care professionals are constantly using new treatments discovered through research to more effectively treat their patients.

End of Semester Reflection

End of Semester Reflection

My first semester at the University of Michigan was definitely not what I had expected. In my letter to myself, I promised to stay organized, make friends in HSSP, “get at least a 3.8″, and restore my faith by going to church. When I opened the letter and read it, I laughed because of how many thing I did not do.

It would be very easy for me to say that this semester went perfectly, and that I am so happy with how things are going. However, I want to be honest. I knew that the University of Michigan would be challenging, but I never expected myself to be struggling to pull off a B+ in intro to Bio or spending two hours a night working on Spanish homework. Never the less, school is school, and I have learned to deal with not getting the straight A+’s that I got in high school.  While I have made friends at U of M, the vast majority of them are not in HSSP. If I knew that many of the HSSP friends groups would be set after welcome week, I would have tried a lot harder to make friends within HSSP instead of hanging out with my friends outside of it.

I think that the cherry on top of a rough first semester was missing my second observation yesterday. For some reason, even though I checked Ctools last week, I was convinced that my observation was this morning. After about thirty minutes of very awkwardly standing at the reception desk of the Cardiovascular center, we figured out that I had the wrong day. So, now I have deal with the fact that the only class I should have easily gotten an A in will now be at highest a B.

Even though my first semester did not go exactly how I thought it would, it was definitely a valuable learning experience. I came in to U of M thinking the only way to medical school was through a science major. Now that I know it is not, I have switched my major to International Studies and Spanish. Like most freshman, this was my first time living without my parents, doing my own laundry, and having complete freedom. Even though my GPA is not what I wanted, I am most proud of myself for getting through Spanish 232 and maintaining my desire to keep learning the language. Also, after a lot of “networking”, I found myself a research position outside of UROP. I am optimistic that next semester will be better than this one, and I will definitely enter next semester with a more positive attitude as I think I have finally adjusted to life at U of M.

Health Disparities and Diabetes

Health Disparities and Diabetes

As we learned in lecture, a health disparity is an inequality that occurs in healthcare and access to healthcare across different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. A prime example of a health disparity is diabetes, which African Americans, Latinos, and lower income earners are twice as likely to develop than white people and higher income earners are. They are also much more likely to suffer from complications due to their diabetes, such as leg amputations.

How does the Social- Ecological Model (SEM) help to explain this health disparity? On the societal level, Hispanics and Blacks make only a percentage of what white men make, even if they are doing the same job. With less money, these populations are unable to pay for the best health care. Also, statistically, lower income patients were far less likely to receive the yearly tests recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Hispanics and African Americans also have a much smaller chance of meeting the A1C goal than whites. Also, even though most clinicians know that diet and physical activity play a huge role in maintaining diabetes, fewer Hispanics, African Americans, low income earners, and people with less than a high school education were never given instructions for a changed diet or increased physical activity by their physicians. On the community level of the SEM, diabetes in poor areas is more prevalent, and many patients have worse outcomes than those in upper class neighborhoods. Why is that? Is it because they can not afford the healthier diet, or their health care providers are not as good as those in rich areas? On the individual level, if I barely have enough money to buy cheap food, how am I supposed to change my diet completely to healthier options? If I have to work my minimum wage job sixty hours a week, how am I going to exercise more? The other factors in my life, due to my socio-economic position, make it much harder for me to improve my condition.

One initiative that has been implemented to help inform more patients about their condition and how to improve it, is for doctors to learn medical Spanish. This is allowing more doctors to communicate more clearly with their Hispanic patients. On an individual level, this initiative will increase Hispanic patients’ knowledge about what they need to do to maintain their diabetes and keeping it from getting worse.