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Access to basic medical and health care facilities and public health issues are concerns that most Americans never consider, taking for granted that quality services and policies are in place, or around the corner. Accompanying my father, a civil servant in India, several years ago into rural India, I was filled with compassion for the people I found living there, and shocked at their lack of knowledge of preventative medicine, relying instead on folklore that still held belief in the jamoga and evil spirits. Their lack of access to even basic medical care touched me deeply, inspiring me to become a doctor. However, during my MBBS education, I found that I wanted to make a greater impact, through work that could provide for the amelioration of the lives of nations, thus leading to my passion for public health projects and research.
During the third year of my MBBS education, I actively sought out and procured an internship with Johns Hopkins Collaborative Projects in Lucknow, work that I was able to bring my cultural experiences and trilingual abilities to. The internship gave me invaluable insights into the public health issues of a developing nation, working within a multidisciplinary team led by Dr's Gary Darmstadt and Vishwajeet Kumar, and focusing upon a randomized controlled trial measuring the impact of an Essential Newborn Care Package introduced through Behavior Change Management on neonatal mortality. Time and again, I was impressed with the confidence, skills and leadership of the doctors and with the relevance and need for Johns Hopkins humanitarian work. My role involved conducting field observations, a skill I had developed as a medical student, and processing documentation. The internship was pivotal, my defining moment, altering my life forever. Newborn survival in resource-bereft settings where socioeconomics and cultural factors oftentimes determine whether a child lives or dies is where I aim to impart all that I am, the focus of my education, energy and time; I had found my life's work. Upon completing my MBBS, I continued working with Johns Hopkins Collaborative Projects, simultaneously completing my clinical internship. To date I have conducted not only my observership and internship, but have worked as a research assistant on a total of six projects over a period of almost four years, publishing numerous articles, scientific abstracts, and attending scientific and advisory meetings.
The International Center for Advancing Neonatal Health will give me unsurpassed access to the finest, most relevant and current information, global outreach projects and world-class research projects. Moreover, the Center's professional relationships with the world's foremost humanitarian and philanthropic organizations, such as WHO and the GAVI Alliance are solid assurances of an educational experience that will quickly and easily lead into a promising and effective career addressing the needs of the children in underserved, socio-economically depressed regions of the world.
For the future, I anticipate being instrumental in addressing some of the more staggering neonatal death statistics, conducting research within an international organization, cooperating with NGOs, non-profit groups, educational institutions and research facilities to improve maternal and child health systems in developing and emerging nations. My homeland of India accounts for 25% of the world's total neonatal deaths, despite, ironically, also having 25% of the world's billionaires calling India home. This is wrong, and is oftentimes highly preventable, through actions as simple as birth attendants washing their hands. With my insights into public health, my academic and professional direction has been reinforced. Furthermore, I bring with me an excellent foundation in quantitative skills, focused on Epidemeology and Biostatistics, a background combined with my MBBS that will prove critical in my further work.
By equipping myself with a Ph.D. and research into international maternal and neonatal health, and child health issues, I will be equipped with a higher level of skills, an increased understanding of how to design interventions and implement cost-effective strategies serving the neonatal health issues within socio-economically depressed populations of developing and transitional countries that I have seen firsthand.
In this great information age, I am fully aware of places where government subsidies do not reach, and where they do, barely scratch the surface of need. Through my work, I will be able to address the needs of the voiceless, the poor, the sick and the needy, at all costs. To make an impact through meaningful and significant contributions to the lives of potentially millions, would bring me a level of personal and professional satisfaction that no other endeavor ever could. For me, there is no greater truth that I could find. I look forward to continuing my academic relationship with Johns Hopkins and thank you for your consideration.