One of my lifelong goals is to continue working with under-served populations, especially after my [hopefully wildly successful] medical career kicks off. A big part of why I kept driving back to Davis after I graduated (whenever possible) stemmed from my wanting to continue volunteering at Paul Hom Asian Clinic. I loved being able to help the patients there, and being there reminded me of each and every reason as to why I want to pursue medicine. One might argue that driving ~100 miles each way on a semi-regular basis just to volunteer is crazy talk, but I really love the patients there. There were also several patients who would look for me whenever they were there to ask if I could interpret for them, so how could I let them down?! :[ So I’d just spend a little less everywhere else and prioritize.
I’d also get to visit one of my best friends/be her weekend roommate, talk with my favorite professors if I was lucky enough to get there super-early, get some homework/project assignments and studying done, earn money from being a research subject, and up until December of 2010–continue teaching piano, so my gas monies ended up being partially subsidized. I was rather skilled at packing a billion activities into every weekend, so it worked out well.
One of my current courses is the Capstone project, which is basically a research project of my own choosing. My interests lie in exercise biology/sports medicine, family medicine, and working with the under-served. I have until October 14th (this Friday) to find a research mentor who’s interested in the same things/willing to work with me.
While I couldn’t find anyone interested in exercise science, I did find someone who worked in the department of family medicine and was interested in working in community service for under-served populations. In other words, right up my alley! She also happens to be the director for the network of Family Medicine residencies throughout NJ, so interest-wise, so this seemed tailor-made for me.
When I first met with her early last month, she said she could find a way to incorporate my research with being able to work with under-served populations within the community. I had to refrain pumping my fist into the air. :O I was also slightly nervous when I was first talking to her, so I told her, “I actually have no interest in research,” when what I really meant was…no experience. Yeah, fail. Leave it to me. She gave me a list of possible places to look into, including…
-Elijah’s Promise (soup kitchen – homeless population)
-Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities
There was also drug rehab, but she said I looked like I was too nice of a person and they’d likely eat me alive. After having a very graphic discussion/exchange with one of my close friends, I figure it’s definitely for the better that she took that off the list for me. I decided to go with the Boggs Center, since it seemed to be really big on teaching/training students, and I’d likely be able to learn the most from it.
I had my meeting with my mentor and the center’s coordinator today (before my anatomy midterm, which wasn’t ideal, but at least I’m confident in anatomy during the times where I don’t make monumentally stupid mistakes).
I didn’t think my research project could get any better, but apparently, it can be done. (Lemme just point out that there was definitely a reason as to why I avoided research so much in undergrad. I thought it would be boring, and I liked clinical internships 213489723052x more, so I never dreamed I’d be this excited about research. Definitely a pleasant surprise!)
+Any workshops/certifications/courses/training I want to take = free. FREE!
:O!!! Just for reference, they’re usually $75-150. Each. The training programs include everything from helping individuals with developmental disabilities to cope with aging/end of life, being able to live on their own, helping them to return to work after a brain injury, how to help them curb bad habits and plan out their lives… Plus, even if registration says it’s full, I can still get in! :D! (The only downside to this is that they’re all on weekdays, so I’d be missing class. :[ I will find a way to work around this.)
+I get to shadow physicians/residents, a psychotherapist and a family nurse practitioner.
I also might even get to work directly with people with developmental disabilities and help to interview/survey them!
+There is the possibility of getting published!
’nuff said. :O I haven’t had anything published since I stopped writing for my school newspapers and Davis’ health journal. :O
+A lot of the research I’ll be doing will entail looking up the curriculum/programs for family medicine residencies across the country.
I’ll probably also be surveying a bunch of residents and talking with them about their FM residencies. For the record, Family Medicine happens to be the one I think I’m most interested in doing, so let’s just say that this is a two-in-one deal, since this is something I was about to start doing anyway, and to have it count as part of my research too? Holy hell, how can it get any better? :O!!!