Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

The sudden passing of my father due to untreated heart disease led me to witness first-hand how inadequate access to healthcare can affect individuals and families. It was this experience that fueled my interest to become a healthcare provider so I have the necessary skills to counsel and treat patients from all demographics. As a result, I have a strong commitment to working for underserved communities and to becoming a knowledgeable, culturally sensitive, and public health oriented Physician Assistant (PA).

I recognize that if I aspire to work with low-income communities I must first understand what barriers and disparities exist, beyond what I learn in the classroom. I spent five weeks performing disaster relief as an EMT in the refugee camps of Greece, where I gained valuable experience working on an interdisciplinary team of volunteer providers, nurses, and paramedics from around the world to treat refugees. Later I volunteered with a medical missionary group in Nairobi serving areas that lack adequate medical or dental care. While I studied health disparities at school, I actually had little idea what those disparities looked like in practice. However, with each opportunity to work with patients and providers in distinct medical settings (i.e. disaster relief, emergency, and specialty care), I gained valuable insight into the healthcare field.

My father’s illness fueled my interest in working in healthcare, my personal and undergraduate experiences showed me the dearth of qualified providers in underserved populations, and watching PAs collaborate with others in the medical field to fill this need led me to choose the PA path. I anticipate my variance in training, coupled with a desire to improve outcomes for underserved communities like mine, will help me deliver culturally relevant, accessible, and appropriate healthcare to all.

Ghazel from California
Samuel Merritt University