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Residency Psychiatry, Puerto Rican Doctor

I am a physician from Puerto Rico and I would like very much to do my residency training in psychiatry. I am looking forward to finding a program that will help me not only to train as a psychiatrist but also provide me with the professional opportunity to sharpen my leadership skills. As a Hispanic doctor, I am very concerned by the fact that there is a great need for psychiatrists that are completely bilingual and multicultural, in order to be able to address the profound need that exists for competent mental health professionals that are qualified to help Latino sufferers of a wide range of mental health issues and challenges, including substance abuse problems, homelessness, etc.

 I am especially interested in doing research in the areas of mental health and epidemiology in the Hispanic community. My long term goal is to work as a private consultant for a metropolitan hospital and to have a private practice that not only can address the psychiatric needs of the Hispanic community, but also helps to create unity among America´s various, most numerous minorities. At some point in my professional career, I also look forward to forming bonds with the academic world, serving as a teacher or mentor to medical students, social workers and mental health professionals.

 In addition to becoming a physician and practicing medicine, I have also benefited from my volunteer work, serving as teacher/trainer of altar boys. This experience has helped me to cultivate patience, perseverance, and compassion, qualities which will be invaluable for me as I labor to become the most effective psychiatrist possible. Perhaps my greatest professional and personal assets are the fact that I am a very hard worker, easy to talk to, and highly empathetic to those who are suffering. The greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to contribute to the struggle against the way that those who suffer from mental health challenges are often derided as ‘crazy’ by the community—especially in the Hispanic community—thereby resulting in the reticence of those that suffer to seek help.

 I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and lived there until the age of 22, when I moved to St Marten to pursue my studies in medicine at the American University of the Caribbean.  I graduated Cum Laude from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de PR, with a BS in chemistry and a minor in biology. As an undergraduate student, I was a fellow of the XXXX program for minority students to be able to do research in the biomedical sciences at an undergraduate level. This experience not only helped me to pay for college, but also gave me the necessary tools to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of research in the medical sciences, especially that which is geared towards the specific issues faced by minority groups—my eyes and heart were opened to the need for greater numbers of medical and mental health professional from our minority communities.

 I was raised as a Catholic and I have always been very involved in church life, serving as an altar boy, and then a trainer. This has contributed to my profound dedication to make a difference in the lives of those medically underserved populations that most need our attention and assistance. Since Spanish is my mother tongue and the language of my university training, I found medical school in English to be a profound challenge, and I consider myself to also be very much a ‘survivor’ for this reason, someone who has overcome difficult obstacles to achieve success. I have learned that we are not alone in our struggles and that there is no shame in asking for help. I have also learned that in order to be a better student, physician and person, I need to live by example. 

 After taking the first step of the USMLEs I decided that I needed to embark on a whole new adventure and I went to the UK to do part of my clinical rotations. This experience not only exposed me to a whole different health system but a whole new culture as well, completing reaffirming my suspicions that truth is in the eye of the beholder” and that ´measures of the quality of life depend entirely upon the lens that one uses to observe and measure it´. I have now had the honor of working with doctors from around the world, from some of the wealthiest nations, such as the UK and Western Europe, to developing countries such as Nigeria and India. I deeply appreciate the way that each doctor brings his or her own vision and set of values to the practice of medicine. Thus, I have come to see the practice of medicine as not only science centered, but, most of all, human centered, and this has furthered my resolve to practice psychiatry as my chosen area of expertise.

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