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I am currently serving as a Resident at the University of XXX Medical, where I have been for the last two years. I am applying to the Hematology – Oncology Program at your hospital because all of my professional achievements thus far have been leading me to my ultimate career goal of doing medical research in this field.
My passion for research in Hematology and Oncology is not just a by product of my university education but a deep rooted sense of vocation that has been with me for most of my adult life. I was born and raised in a small village in southern India, a typically impoverished neighbourhood where basic medicinal necessities were scarce and treatment practically non – existent. The pain and suffering which I witnessed at such an early age are memories which will always remain with me. Most shocking of all were those patients suffering from cancer, a disease of which we had no knowledge at the time. Patients were treated as victims of Black Magic and were essentially quarantined and left to suffer and die.
Such was the pervading ignorance of the times. It was only later when our family moved to an urban area so that my siblings and I could pursue our dreams of further education, that we had our first glimpse of modern medicine and healthcare. Among these new revelations was an understanding of the pervasiveness and devastating consequences of cancer. This period in my life was a kind of awakening in that I realised that I wanted to help people and bring greater healthcare awareness and services to those who had been left too long in the dark. Thus, I took my first steps along my chosen career path.
Since my initial inspiration to pursue a medical career had come from my desire to help those in India who had little to no exposure to modern medicine, then it seemed a natural progression that volunteer work should be an important part of my life. In India this usually took the form of an outreach program to disparate communities that would benefit enormously from the help we could offer. One such effort was the National Polio Eradication program which was conducted biannually. Each team was responsible for screening and vaccinating the children; equally important was the task of educating the adult population about polio and its transmission.
As a young medical student, I was attracted to many of the specialities available but there was always this one aspect of medicine which had appealed to me from the outset. As a doctor, there is no greater reward than to tackle a disease through its physiology and pathology and then to follow this up with a successful therapy. Hematology and Oncology was destined to play a major role in my chosen career; not only because it is a field of medicine where the suffering of the victim is so acute and so demands our attention but also that there is so much ongoing research and ground breaking development. This is why I long to be a part of something in which change for the better is a realistically attainable goal.
If we hope to be able to bring about improvements in our ability to treat cancer then we must never forget how crucial a role our research plays. Appreciation for my work as a physician has long been instrumental in my continuing enthusiasm for Hematology and Oncology, but I have also been inspired by advancements in research and new approaches to the treatment and prevention of the disease. Without a comprehensive program of research and development, further major success in practical treatment will remain unattainable. Ultimately, the life of a patient relies on the latter. However, I see both aspects of medicine as crucial to each other and being a part of this process is a huge motivation for me personally.
My current program has me involved in three different areas of research: occult metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma, leukemia in situs inversus, and neutrophilic skin lesions in a patient with AML. The research is varied and time consuming but I see it as a crucial part of my job that is no less important than my day to day tasks as a physician. The fact that a lot of this work is carried out with patients and not just static laboratory procedures, means that I can have a hands on approach and see for myself whether I am achieving the results that I am striving towards.
I have been fortunate during my career to date, in that I have had the opportunity to be part of research teams that have been using new therapies to target cancer. I have worked with physicians in oncology, radiology and nuclear medicine and have watched with admiration the way in which they deal so humanely with their patients as they guide them through this painfully difficult phase of their treatment. This is exactly the kind of medicine I want to be involved in: to be able to forge a strong relationship with my patients while at the same time doing my utmost to relieve their suffering. These are the rewards I seek from my career and it is this which will continue to motivate me further.
It is true to say that every one of my experiences, from my volunteer work in India, to my research programs that are ongoing today, have all served to strengthen my passion, enthusiasm and commitment to pursue Hematology and Oncology to the very best of my ability. I remain dedicated to the crucial role that research continues to play in our field and I can guarantee that I will bring all my energies to bear as I continue on my chosen path.