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Primary Care Residency, Cuban Doctor

Growing up in a third world country, Cuba, struck by poverty, I have witnessed friends and families going through hardship and struggles of various kinds, including illnesses suffered due to a lack of healthcare resources, of which I myself also had firsthand experience. While going through such experience then, I could not grasp the reason for such misery and frustration, but as I grew older, I began to understand that, aside from financial strains, healthcare providers available per capita were very low and this made medical care delayed and poor. This sparked in me, the desire of becoming a physician, not only for the prestige of the profession, but mainly because of  its honorable mission of helping others with their physical pain and mental sorrows.

As a young boy, I was allowed to dream about this noble profession, but my dream seemed unlikely ever to be fulfilled. None of my relatives or neighbors had achieved more than a very basic education and my own future looked set to mirror their life experiences. I still remember the day I shared my dreams with my lovely aunt, while working in a farm. She looked at me and said, “You know we have no money to pay for you to study, but if you want to be a doctor, you need to study hard, to sacrifice your time and effort  and God will bless you and provide a way”.  I believed strongly in her words and put her plan into action. I struggled through the years, but it did not stop me from following my dream. I graduated from High School (the first in my family to do so) and eventually obtained a scholarship to study Medicine in Cuba.

My time in Cuba provided a very positive and humbling experience, and while there, I realized that my dream of becoming a physician and serving others wasn’t just a dream, but also a passion.  It is well known that the Cuban medical training regime places a great emphasis in the field of Primary Health Care, highlighting the importance of disease prevention, health education and early diagnosis which are all major elements in the specialty.  During these six years of medical training, I grew both professionally as well as personally.

I was soon called upon to apply all this excellent training when I returned to my country, where I practiced Medicine as a general physician for four years helping patients with all their health related needs. Satisfying though my work was, I also harbored personal ambitions.  So I start seeking ways to specialize and once again I faced many challenges. However, by this time my family had immigrated to USA, and I had the opportunity to come to the land where dreams come true. Although, to my great disappointment, I faced many barriers in obtaining all the necessary school documents from Cuba and this continues to be the case. While waiting, I continue to serve patients by working as a Medical Interpreter/Translator, where I am able to bridge the communication between providers and patients. This work has enabled me not just to stay up to date with recent medical developments, but also learned a great deal about the US health system, its culture and environment, especially in the primary care settings.

I know that, there is great competition to secure residency positions, and I am also aware that this specialty calls for particular attitudes and skills such as first class diagnostic skills, patience, creativity, empathy, decisiveness but most importantly a passion to improve the health of all those within one’s care. In order to reach this point in life, it has been necessary for me to demonstrate very high level of determination, hard work, flexibility, confidence and independence. I assure the reader that these characteristics will be enthusiastically applied during the program in order to better serve all patients of all social and cultural backgrounds, understand the complexity of their health. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my experience and profiting from those of my fellow students, if selected.     

Thank you for considering my application.

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