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Family Medicine Residency, Iran, Canada, USA

I hold a degree in Electrical Engineering and, during my studies, became involved in work related to medical imaging which was fascinating and I saw as a possible future career path in this area of work. During this time, I also undertook some very useful medically related research which has been published internationally.  However, I became aware that I was seeing a very limited ‘picture’ of the patients. I became more interested in the people behind the images than the images themselves, I wanted to know more, and an unexpected vocation for medicine was the result.

 Many of the skills required of a good engineer are also those called for in medicine, among these are: An analytical approach to problems, curiosity, the determination and skill to accurately diagnose the causes of a problem and a skill in establishing relationships between apparently unrelated data. The thing that an engineering career does not offer is substantial interaction with others and the opportunity to be of direct help to them. I do not regret my study of engineering and have found this background very useful in my study of medicine.

 I have carefully considered the area of work that will both set me on the most satisfying career path and also enable me to be most useful to the community. Family Medicine is the specialty that meets both requirements. I am attracted by the variety of patients and conditions that I shall meet, the specialty will make full use of my analytical and diagnostic skills, this area of work will also provide the constant patient contact that I seek. I know that family medicine calls for a very high order of interpersonal and communication skills and I believe that I possess these. I am particularly interested in the significance of non-verbal ‘signals’ and the need for a physician to be sensitive to them and to respond appropriately.

 Family Medicine will be increasingly affected by the aging of the population and the increasing proportion of the elderly among patients. Amongst several volunteer activities in which I have been involved, I was Recreational Events Co-ordinator at a Seniors’ Health Care Centre. I enjoy the company of older people and come from a culture where the aged are cherished and afforded great respect. The ‘aging phenomenon’ will call for new thinking and new initiatives to encourage and enable the elderly to lead lives that are as independent and as fulfilling as possible. I would hope to be able to assist in research into the challenges that will be presented to the elderly themselves, the medical community and to society in general.

When living in Iran, I was involved in volunteer emergency work during two serious earthquakes. This experience was both extremely moving and educative. I saw how doctors and others react in extreme situations. I am also among the founders of ‘Women’s Action Network’, an organization that assists women from developing nations. This experience has enhanced my communication, leadership and organizational skills.

 I have seen many doctors at work in the course of my MD program and volunteer activities. These have ranged from the merely competent to the excellent. I conclude that the physician’s attitude to his/her patients separates the excellent from the rest. Excellent physicians quickly establish a relationship based on trust and confidence and involve the patients as far as possible in their treatment. Excellent physicians care about their patients rather than merely caring for them. Excellent physicians treat every patient as an individual, worthy of their respect and not as a mere ‘bundle of symptoms’. I am determined to be an excellent family physician. I need to ‘make a living’ but, more importantly, I want to ‘make a difference’ in people’s lives.

 I am fully aware of the need for cultural sensitivity in health care provision. I have lived in Iran, Canada and the United States and know what it is to adjust to a new and unfamiliar culture. I speak Farsi as well as English and some German. I have happily studied and worked with people of many cultural and social backgrounds and enjoy doing so. I consider myself to be exceptionally culturally aware and sensitive.

 I believe that my academic ability, characteristics, interests, background and, more importantly, my attitude make me an excellent candidate for the residency program and greatly look forward to beginning my career and to making a difference in people’s lives.

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