How can you make a difference in the world?
During the first months of my residence in New York City, the lavishness and consumption of the American lifestyle surprised me. As a new immigrant from rural China to the Big Apple, I was mentally unprepared for the sights and sounds of such a wealthy country, which is capable of utilizing so much of the world’s resources for her luxurious ways. Now, I have become accustomed to these ways of life. Water, food, and shelter come easily and everyone around me is immune against contagious diseases. I soon discovered the harsh truth, however, that not everyone is so fortunate. When I returned to my birthplace, I found myself unable to grasp the magnitude of the health problems people face outside of the United States. I visited hospitals and temporary clinics that had unacceptable health practices according to American standards. Still, to people with acute and chronic illnesses, those establishments were the best options available. Finally, I realized that the United States is such a lucky nation endowed with the resources to meet people’s basic needs and to respond to medical crises. My trip to China starkly exposed a major societal problem of our generation, which is the lack of proper healthcare. As a global citizen, I have the responsibility to make an attempt to resolve these issues. In the future, I want to the first one to provide immediate assistance to those who are traumatized by medical crises abroad. Responding to medical crises proves to be an enormous obstacle for numerous countries. Experiencing climate change and unpredictable weather patterns, our country faces the problem of ensuring her citizens’ health and safety during dangerous times. Nevertheless, this is not only a national problem, but also a global emergency. Just last month, a terrible earthquake shook the Sichuan province of China and ravaged its landscape and human demography. Displaced homes, rotting bodies, and unsanitary water are only a few of the many health-related crises that require critical attention. The efforts of rescue teams, generous donations from charitable organizations, and selfless volunteers at the site of disaster provide invaluable relief to the earthquake victims. All of these actions, however, only scratch the surface of the necessary clean-up operation and medical response after a natural disaster. The earthquake has shattered homes, schools, and various buildings, which bury many of the dead. These bodies can potentially spread diseases and pollute surrounding water sources and food supplies. As of now, thousands of displaced victims are still waiting for rescue teams to provide them with urgent medical attention. Their lives become more endangered each day from the lack of proper nutrients and drinking contaminated water spilling out of uprooted chemical plants. One monumental societal problem we encounter today is proper medical response for people after a calamity. From this single earthquake alone, we can see clearly that handling medical crises can be extremely difficult. The first main obstacle is securing clean water and supplies. Efficient and timely global transportation systems and rapid communication will help to resolve this issue. Secondly, most victims after natural disasters such as an earthquake or a cyclone need immediate medical attention. Establishing temporary clinics requires sanitary conditions for patient treatment and recovery. In addition to addressing this problem, we need to recruit competent volunteers and doctors in order to staff these emergency facilities. Lastly, one nation should not face the medical crisis caused by an unpredicted natural catastrophe alone. As global citizens, we need to raise awareness and encourage international collaboration to minimize the obstacles in responding to medical emergencies. Recovering from tremendous losses, our global family needs to cross political, religious, and cultural barriers to save as many lives as possible. During my trip to China, I witnessed people suffering without proper medical care. Societies in many countries experience similar problems in everyday life and during times of unforeseen disasters. As a citizen of the United States, I have the responsibility to extend my privileged lifestyle to others around the world. In order to achieve this goal, education becomes my first priority. After undergraduate studies, I will pursue a M.D./Ph.D. dual degree. This will allow me both interaction with patients and communication with the larger scientific community to advance treatments and improve our response to medical crises. Also, I plan to join non-profit organizations to work in developing countries. By helping the impoverished and injured individuals who immediately need medical attention, I can contribute significantly to the international community. Solving the world’s medical problems proves to be a daunting task. Nevertheless, I believe in my determination and indomitable will to strive for solutions to healthcare problems.