By creating the International Health Track, St. Joseph’s Medical Center has shown a willingness to approach medicine as it is: a human right. Through several international experiences, I have seen first hand how health care has long forsaken a large majority of people in the world in which we live. Whether this centers on the slums of American cities, where 45 million people live without health insurance, or if it speaks to rural Africa, where HIV and tuberculosis continue to run rampant; it is inclusive of all the populations that we can no longer ignore. It must become a priority of the medical community to devote themselves to care for the marginalized, the uninsured, and the forgotten in our society. Not only is it our social responsibility, it is also our privilege.

To quote Dr. Paul Farmer, physicians must start practicing medicine with a “preferential option for the poor.” I have worked intimately with physicians that have exemplified this creed. These encounters vary from Honduran ORs to HIV clinics in England, diabetes screenings in the Caribbean to Guatemalan free clinics; all of them equally inspiring and diverse. I am also looking forward to the exposure I will gain by participating in the Prevention and Access to Care and Treatment (PACT) Project through Brigham and Women’s Hospital in December. However, I prefer to allow my Curriculum Vitae to speak for my varied experiences and focus as an alternative on the motivations behind my actions instead of the actions themselves.

I am a rampant idealist. Using this idealism, I have strived to find residency programs that offer a global approach to train physicians to overcome elitism and xenophobia in order to more effectively deliver medicine to the underserved everywhere. Outstanding teaching methodologies will produce physicians that will take up the fight against the injustice of unequal medical care using two distinct venues; in and out of the hospital. Fieldwork is a critical component because it allows motivations to mature. I have seen this happen in physicians in training in the bed of a Guatemalan pickup through conversations on the way to our daily free clinics. However, it is not only field work that facilitates the passion that is required to deliver this type of medical care, but also hospital training programs teaching eclectic views of how to deliver medicine. Using broad, multi-cultural approaches to give residents a foundation for their medical careers will always create caring, compassionate physicians who will be prepared to face the challenges and obstacles that face them in the future of global health.

Ultimately, I am not applying to global health programs for a chance to placate a guilty conscience or to get a chance to travel to somewhere exotic for a few weeks a year. This full-time commitment to the underserved has been fostered and forged over many years of seeing the unjust medical gradient of care and treatment that exists from the developed to the developing world and the inner city to the suburbs. I have specifically chosen Family Medicine at St. Joseph’s Medical Center because I believe that your views mirror mine, and together we can continue the long journey to see universal health care for all.