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My interest in the mind and human behavior started long before medical school. Early in high school, a teacher introduced me to the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Intrigued by the idea I wanted to learn more about Maslow’s theories. I discovered the section of the library containing writings not only of Maslow, but of many other psychologists and philosophers. Eagerly, I read and pondered these novel concepts and my existential interests flourished. In college, I continued my study of the human experience as an American Studies major. Through an interdisciplinary study of the history, arts, and literature of America, I explored the elements and events that shaped our national identity. While the social sciences and humanities stimulated me creatively and intellectually, I knew I would be most fulfilled if I could use my knowledge and skills to offer meaningful service to others.
Throughout medical school, I have most enjoyed the courses that examine neuroscience and human behavior. I especially liked learning about psychopharmacology and the biological basis of addiction and other disorders. Early lectures about developmental neuroscience impressed upon me the gravity of psychological insults in infancy and childhood. During my basic science training, I had early opportunities to work with psychiatric patients. While developing my interviewing and assessment skills, I quickly realized my affinity for listening to people’s stories and learning about their cultural backgrounds. It was incredibly gratifying to see the transformation of patients impaired by their mental illness who were again functional after receiving appropriate therapy. Also, I enjoyed situations where I was able to help patients develop insight into their emotions and behaviors during the course of their treatment. I found ample opportunities for studying psychopathology throughout my clinical rotations and am intrigued by the idea that the mind strongly contributes to the development, course, and outcome of many medical conditions. Psychiatry challenges me intellectually, allows use of my creativity, and affords me an opportunity to utilize my greatest personal traits.
During my pediatrics rotation, I cared for many patients who were admitted for psychiatric concerns. I enjoy addressing the unique psychiatric conditions and social and developmental issues of children and hope pursue a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. Working with children and families pushes me to be imaginative, adapt my communication skills, and analyze problems from a multidisciplinary perspective. Expanding my understanding of child development and behavior, will give me more insight into my adult patients with relevant trauma or experiences from their early lives. While I envision patient care being the focus of my medical career, I plan to include advocacy and education in my professional activities. Practitioners that care for children are in a unique position to promote programs and activities that further child well being. Abundant opportunities exist to educate the public and the medical community about the realities of mental illness and the need for resources. I see a great need and opportunity for expanding our understanding of the etiology, course, and treatment options for pediatric mental illnesses. I enjoy finding solutions and working to bring about change Eventually, my goal is to be associated with an academic medical center where I might teach, write, and continue to search for answers to many of the questions that still exist in psychiatry.
For my residency training, I hope to find a program where biological psychiatry and psychotherapy are both considered meaningful components of psychiatric training and practice. Also, I look forward to exposure to a diverse patient population and to the various subspecialties in psychiatry while at the same time fosters an atmosphere of learning and encourages resident research activities. Finally, I wish to work hard, be intellectually stimulated and challenged, and gain the proficiency I need to become an excellent clinician. I am excited to enter this fascinating profession and hope to make a meaningful contribution to my patients, to my residency program, and to the psychiatric field.