To me its like a dream; growing up just outside of Detroit with an unconventional upbringing. Looking back now I can see how the Physician's Assistant journey I was destined to walk along was shaped through my childhood. I believe to fully understand and pursue ones potential, it is important to know where you came from. Though I came from a consistently loving home, I was exposed early on to the shocking healthcare needs of the underprivileged families in my area. My Mothers job as a special needs teacher at an impoverished school accompanying my Fathers job at General Motors assembly line often compelled them to bring their work home.
My families home provided sanctuary to many neglected children in our community. From an impressionable age my siblings and I witnessed children from destitute circumstances involving abuse, drugs and abandonment come into our lives with various medical needs. Using our own resources we were taught to take action and bestow hope in the lives of those less fortunate. Whether it was a child with cerebral palsy abandoned at the hospital or an entire family living out of a car in Detroit's unforgiving winter; my family intervened. Such unique experiences ingrained in me a commitment to serving disadvantaged youth and a passion to advocate for those in need.
My family's philanthropic lifestyle took a painful turn my senior year of high school when my Father suffered an Aortic Dissection followed by two strokes. Suddenly our roles reversed; we were now to focus on our patriarch and his needs as our community joined in our support. Over the course of seven months we rehabilitated my Father teaching him how to speak, walk and perform daily tasks. This time spent with my Father taught me the value of our public health system and how lucky I was to have a phenomenal foundation to derive from. A week before he was to start driver's education my Father passed away leaving a tremendous legacy to carry on.
The abrupt shift in financial responsibility for my family and lost guidance was reflected in my poor grades during my undergraduate studies at Western Michigan University. Life was spent between school, volunteering at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, various internships and a full time job waiting tables. Persevering through the most difficult hardship with my family gave me the strength to get through anything life has to throw. It's detrimental to look at the big picture and acknowledge how blessed we are to have basic human rights, the capacity to accomplish change and above all an accessible chance to heal. Following my Father's passing I sought peace and guidance to the internal question of what my role was in this big picture.
In December 2009 during a chance encounter in Detroit Mercy Hospital's chaotic Emergency Room I stumbled upon the answer. I ran into a close friend of mine, Lauren Lebioda, PA-C, who invited me to shadow her on her rounds. I marveled at her medical capacity in the strenuous setting and the dramatic improvements she made with each patient as an individual. Lauren is creating a positive impact in the universe through healing others. I realized from then on my destiny to help others would continue through a career in medicine.
I embarked on a crusade to gain as much exposure to the different roles my dream profession played in the community. While doing very well in the science pre-requisite courses, I have volunteered and worked for some remarkable organizations. Florida's Guardian ad Litem program in particular has embedded in me an urgency to gain the medical knowledge necessary to advocate for children's rights. As a guardian I represent and advocate for abused and neglected children in Miami Dade County's dependency court.
The cases I have worked on involving children ages two months to four years has opened my eyes to the harsh reality of child abuse and the ways I will contribute to ending the cycle through medical intervention. Visiting my children in all custodial, educational and healthcare environments allows me to verify they are protected and safe. Often times it is the expert opinion of the child's medical professionals such as their Physician's Assistants that decides the fate of these children. Constant observation, skeletal surveys and genetic testing are some of the tools we use to grasp what these children have endured. Conserving the future of five children thus far, I support these qualified individuals and look forward to becoming one of them.
My commitment to becoming a Physician's Assistant is deeply rooted in who I am as a human being. Life's blessings and indelible memories have established a strong heart; dedicated to giving back to this beautiful world. I will continue my work in public health through volunteering and as a Nurse Assistant as I complete my certification as a Nurse Assistant. Given the opportunity, I will strive to contribute to the medical world as a child advocate and charitable contributor.