Why I am Who I am
Before I came to medical school, I was first a teacher. I taught ninth-grade biology at a low-income school in the bottom five percent of Detroit Public Schools, which is the nation’s lowest-achieving district. Fueled by my personal vision for a better society, I felt charged to take on this role through Teach For America, in order to ensure every child’s access to an excellent education. Nothing could have prepared me for this challenge, my amazing kiddos taught me as much as I taught them, as we battled against the achievement gap for an average growth of >1 grade levels and >3 points on the ACT Science section within a single year.
National service afforded me time to more concretely develop my personal vision. While I enjoyed working with individuals, I knew that systemic barriers had to be disassembled on a larger scale through reform of laws and policies. The range of injustices that my students faced was vast, but health inequities stuck out to me as the most obvious culprit. It was clear that compared with where I had grown up just twenty miles away, low-income communities suffered from poorer healthcare access and faced higher rates of chronic disease—like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity—that crippled their potential. I resolved to reverse the trajectory of low-income communities’ decreasing life expectancy, which contributes to the low expectations that shackle these citizens in generational poverty.
By combining public health with my previous graduate training, I aim to become a medical director or health officer for a local government health department. This public service role would effectively position me to fulfill my career objective of increasing America’s life span, starting with its most underserved communities. In order to equip myself with the skills to transform population health outcomes, I am thrilled to embark in the Zuckerman Fellowship through Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As a former educator and future physician, I believe this multidisciplinary training will be paramount to advancing successful public policies to ensure that everyone can enjoy excellent health—regardless of zip code.