| Results From Event Feedback : Selected site |
In his latest address to the American Medical Association, President Barack Obama opined, “Make no mistake: the cost of our healthcare is a threat to our economy. It is an escalating burden on our families and businesses. It is a ticking time bomb for the federal budget. And it is unsustainable for the United States of America.” From a purely economical and statistical viewpoint, the current American healthcare model is flawed; America spends more on healthcare per capita than most other modernized and developed nations, yet the quality of care pales in comparison. America’s quality of care should be proportionate with its per capita investment. With the overall theme of revolutionizing and revitalizing the current American healthcare model, this Saturday Academy fused a discussion of the current American healthcare model with a writing workshop. Beginning with presentations of Laurie Abraham’s literary work, Mama Might Be Better Off Dead, the UPP cohort listened to and gave presentations on their interpretation of the literary work. Each presentation was most edifying. Not only did the presentations elucidate the facts of the current American healthcare system logically and coherently, but they encouraged audience participation, shattering the typical presenter-audience relationship that is a staple of this program. Analogously, the presentations weren’t limited to Mama Might Be Better Off Dead; the presentations extended to intellectually stimulating games, talk shows, skits, etc. For lunch, the UPP cohort dialogued and discussed life with students of Skinner Middle School; this time was both relaxing and rewarding. Following lunch, the UPP cohort attended a workshop on writing a powerful personal statement; the workshop was very beneficial as it allowed the fellows to examine, evaluate, and critique the work of their peers. Evaluating the essays of my peers was a key segment of the workshop.
Today I had the great pleasure of presenting with my group on the book "Mama Might Be Better Off Dead," as well as to listen to the presentations of my fellow UPP peers. This time our groups really spiced up the presentations. One group led skits, another had an engaging video, a few used group games to portray ideas, et cetera.
Our group decided to portray the idea that chance is a legitimate factor in determining health care conditions and outcomes. This is legitimate because people are unable to choose what environment they are born in, they have no choice over socioeconomic status, place of birth, or preexisting health conditions. For the child with diabetes who's mother can barely afford rent, how can we help? The game that we played was completely based on the roll of a die, ironically, we named the game "Luck or Die." Where with a few unlucky rolls, one might find themselves living in the projects, lower class, and without a college degree. Under these situations, of course one would be grateful for some universal health care, some basic form of healthcare for those who are desperately in need.
The only question is, what can our society agree on as the an affordable basic level of health care? What is a practical amount of money that our government can spend on handouts and free preventative medicine? What should be covered and what shouldn't? I think that preventative medicine is an investment. The long-term chronic illnesses that can cost thousands of dollars in the end term can be sometimes prevented by a few simple, low-cost measures.
During lunch, we had the opportunity to eat lunch with middle school students from Skinner Middle School. It was fun talking to all the children and getting to know their views on college and applying for school.
Afterwards, we had Jennifer come back to tell us about our personality colors and work on our personal statements.
Presentations on “Mama Might Be Better Off Dead”
Meeting with middle schoolers from Skinner
Meeting with Jennifer for personal statement workshop
This January Saturday academy was primarily focussed towards the book discussion. Overall, my presentation went as well as I had hoped. I think our video brought up a lot of interesting points, even though others didn’t really pick up on the ridiculous things my character was saying. After it was said and done, I was a little regretful that we chose to do a video. One of the primary reasons why I present in front of others is to work out my critical thinking abilities, but with the video, I was not able to practice those particular skills. In general, I did like the topic of this book a lot more, and I think our project was a lot more creative and thoughtful. One theme that was common amongst most presentations was if it is the responsibility of the rest of the nation to care for the poor. Obviously, it is a good thing if all people get quality health care, but I seriously think it is not realistic. In fact, I was making the argument that it was a slippery slope. By this I mean that if it’s everyone’s responsibility to care for the poor, why not care for every poor person in the nation? I guess my point was where do we draw the line in terms of caring for the poor? Anyways, I didn’t bring up my other arguments because it would have opened a can of worms. Another thing we did today was meet up with Jennifer for our second session on personal statements. We first did an activity, like the Myers-Briggs, that helped us to understand more of who we are. I ended up being the color gold, which is probably the most serious of the colors. We like to be organized and get straight to the point to accomplish goals. It’s actually really great doing these tests because it really reinforces who I am. I am actually surprised that they seem to work that well. Of course, with any color, there are strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses with gold include being a perfectionist, being too independent that it is inefficient, and often poor with communication. I can relate to all of these weaknesses, but it’s good that I am realizing them so I can work to improve them. Overall, this Saturday academy went very well, and I am learning more things about myself, healthcare, and other people’s viewpoints every academy.
Today’s Saturday Academy was personally, very thought provoking and overall incredibly discussion provoking. Today, the groups presented their thoughts after reading the book Mama Might be Better off Dead. In this book, the author ran a case study that focused on one family living in poverty and their struggles with money and the health care system. This book led the groups to discuss improvements to the current health care system as they thought about what they would have done differently as health care providers dealing with the Banes family. This led to the Affordable Care Act and many interesting points were made in a very heated, but respectable discussion. I can honestly say that I have left that portion of the day feeling like I have learned much more about the goals of health are but I still am without a reasonable suggestion to the problem. All I know is that we must try something. I also thought that the presentations were very well-done. Every group discussed their thoughts about the evaluation questions given to us, and they did so in very creative ways. I had fun when groups incorporated games into their presentations. During lunch, we sat and talked with students from Skinner Middle School (Shout out to Katie and Maria!). I had a great time getting to know students who were so motivated to learn about science at such a very young age. During the second half of the day, Jennifer Pacheco came and we peer-reviewed our personal statements. Personal statements are important because they allow students to provide information about themselves. They are able to discuss what was not listed in a resume, or in a college transcript. We also did a “True Colors Test” which was similar to a Myers-Briggs test in the way that it helped us to better understand our personality type. I was “gold” which means that I enjoy structure, tradition, and organization. Overall, I enjoyed the incredible discussion that we ha today and I had a lot of fun participating in the group presentations. I also was grateful that Jennifer was able to share her expertise to help improve our personal statements.
Unfortunately, I had to leave early from this Saturday academy. This academy was a great experience to listen and speak about the health care system. The groups presented on the book Mama might be Better Off Dead. This book covered issues involved in the health care system. Each group approached the topic differently, but I was extremely impressed with the group discussions. Everyone agreed with the need to change the current health care system so that it can help everyone instead of a select few. I really loved how one group took the approach of doing a TV show. They featured different classes of people, and how they were affected by the different health care system laws. I was struck the most by the fact that the middle class sever issues with the current systm. The fact that they have to pay a percentage out of their income that does not even compare to the percent taken from the rich is outrageous! I also do not agree that people have to choose between being employed or staying on welfare and being unemployed. This causes people to choose to not work, which keeps them in poverty. From this session, I also discovered that I am not fully aware of exactly what Obamacare is and I need to do more research on the subject. The part of the day I missed was the personal statement session, but I have hopes to get caught up on this portion when I meet with Medhat and other members of UPP. In all, I truly enjoyed the book Mama Might Be Better Off Dead. It gave an insight to a world that exist, and that I need to become more involved in. My heart was torn to see the struggles of the Banes family, and now I am more aware that this is happening everywhere. The health care system has to change to keep up with current times.
Saturday January 26, 2013 UPP spent another Saturday Academy at Anschutz Medical Campus. The morning portion was spent on interactive presentations about “Mama Might be Better off Dead”, while the afternoon was spent working on our personal statements. Our interactive presentations included games and heated discussions about how our healthcare system is flawed. I believe we all agreed that there are flaws within our system but the solutions to these issues were not so agreed upon. We all, as future healthcare providers, we want to give the best communities of need; however, there are restrictions to how this can be done due to resource limitations. Thus, where to allocate our resources is something that should be looked upon as a nation. The US has the lowest life expectancy and lowest overall health of all developed nations. This should and has come to all of our attentions and we know we need to approach it in order to change these statistics. I truly feel so fortunate to be part of a group that is no invested and so interested in making a difference. The discussions we had, although they were showing different perspectives and opinions, certainly showed how each person has their own passion for improving our community’s health.
As a break, we spent our lunch with middle school students from an underserved population. It was excited to talk to these kids about our goals in life and persuade them to be the best they can be. One boy that I talked to wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grows up; however, by the end of our conversation, he was convinced he wanted to be a doctor.
Personal statements are a large part of ones application to professional school. This is also an aspect in the application that is unique from the rest of the application because it show administration why one is unique and what one have gone through (and not simply informing factual information that is presented in the rest of the application). By editing a friends paper, I was not only able to help her improve it, but I was also able to learn a great deal about her. The trick to the personal statement is to be concise yet inform the readers of all the amazing things about oneself.
As always, it was great to see everyone from the 2012-2013 UPP cohort. I can’t wait to see them again on the next Saturday Academy.
Today we spent the better half of the day holding presentations on “Mama Might Be Better Off Dead.” This time around, the presentations were a lot more entertaining. There were interactive games, skits, and discussions. Everything was very creative, and I was actually excited when groups were going to present. The majority of the discussions we had revolved around the American health care system and its flaws. Under the current system, only those who have money can receive physicals, medication, and other treatments or therapies. I personally think that everyone should be allowed to lead a healthy life regardless of the socioeconomic status they are born into or spend their lives in. Some people in this country are simply unable to improve the quality of their lives, but it is not our job as health care professionals to judge them or prevent them from at least leading healthy lives. Of course, this would only be true under the ideal health care system. Currently, there are insurance companies have a large number of restrictions that they set in place in order to serve the least number of people; Medicaid and Medicare limit the pay of physicians; not enough resources are allocated to focus on preventative care. Together, all these factors and more have led the nation into spending the most on health care and still having the unhealthiest citizens. There is clearly a problem with the system.
The book also highlighted a number of other problems. One such problem was the health disparities among different racial and ethnic groups. African Americans tend to suffer more from diseases and conditions affecting the cardiovascular system, and the Latino and Hispanic communities have high rates of diabetes. These are just two of the dozens of examples that the author presented in the book, but they are sufficient to illustrate an argument: If biologists argue that there are no genetic differences among populations, then clearly there are errors within the medical field that have accounted for the disparities. It could be that there is a higher proportion of these minorities have little to no education about their health and mistrust American physicians. The Banes, the protagonists within the book, were a perfect example of how a minority group encounters all the flaws of health care while trying to pursue the fabled American Dream.
The latter portion of the day was spent evaluating our personal statements and doing a new personality test. I put considerable time into creating mine and polishing it before this Saturday, so that the reviewer would have to nitpick to try and find an error. However, the fellow that reviewed my personal statement did not nitpick. There were some errors in my statement, but he made great suggestions to correct them or offer perspective on something I had not considered. I want to make it the best personal statement I have ever made so far because I am applying to PA school in just a couple of months! The good thing is I have a great network of support to turn to if I need help; all I need to do is ask.
As mentioned before, we also did a new personality assessment. This time, it was more about finding our “true colors.” Jennifer Pacheco, the guest speaker, said that it was closely related to our Myers-Briggs test we did a couple of months ago. After ranking the options, it turned out that I am a “blue” person. This means that I am a bit more emotional and I like people, which is extremely true. I do not necessarily view them as flaws because I was not very far off from being a “gold” person (it was a point difference). The gold person in me provides the structure, organization, and logic that the blue person in me does not have. My favorite quality of being blue and gold was that the descriptions said I liked to both unite and bring stability to society. I hope to bringing these qualities out in my personal statement and interview as I go forth with applications.
Saturday’s Academy was reflective on the healthcare policies that are currently in place in the United States. Group presentations revolved around Abraham's book Mama Might Be Better off Dead. A lot of the discussions that were brought upon the different group presentations looked at how to help provide healthcare to the underserved communities and what policies must be put in place in order to benefit the healthcare system for all classes. The reality is regardless of how healthcare is changed here in the United States, there has to be some sacrifice. The United States puts an astonishing amount of money into their healthcare system yet they have some of the worst outcomes around the world. The amount of uninsured individuals is high; a large part for why the number is so large has to do with how the United States views health. It can be argued that if the United States begins intertwining health into their culture a large sum can be saved. Nevertheless it won't happen overnight, small steps to make this happen is required and if chronic illnesses can be fought some of the money saved can be used for preventative medicine to help fight these chronic diseases. As Abraham states, I myself find that a baseline of healthcare is essential. After group presentations were done the UPP fellows were invited to have lunch with middle school students from Skinner. The students I discussed with talked about video games and sports and we exchanged stories. They all want to go to college, two of them for engineering and the other for biological sciences. It's great to hear their inspiring stories and little bit about their background. We concluded the academy with correcting personal statements that we previously had wrote. We each took a test similar to Myers Briggs that highlights our strengths. The reason for this is to make sure to use them in our statements and why these strengths are crucial for success in a company or with us. It is important to recognize your strengths and to recognize what career and/or program you chose to follow. The right fit is essential in order to live a satisfying life and to essentially have your career be an inherent lifestyle.
At this past Saturday Academy we focused primarily on presentations and group discussions encircling Laurie Kaye Abraham’s case study “Mama Might Be Better Off Dead”. After experiencing ennui with the previous book presentations, I was delighted to see how creative each group became in discussing the central themes of the failures of health care in urban America and the need for healthcare reform through skits and group activities. Coming into the presentations I knew that my knowledge of the subjects presented in the book are shaky at best, as most of what I know about the current system and reform proposal are limited to previous internship discussions and what articles I happen across online. After hearing the insightful discussions the cohort had concerning the reforms, I understood the importance of the current reforms, and hope to take time aside and look at them more in-depth in order to better understand how they affect me and our society as a whole. I also realized that I have my own convictions when it comes to health care; mainly that everyone deserves basic access to care (immunizations, dental care, physicals, etc.), and if not everyone, at least those predisposed to certain diseases, and most importantly the children in our society. I’ve also come to see that I better understand the stigmatization we place on death within our society and how that affects one’s final years of life, mainly the increase of acute care as opposed to comfort and palliative care. As we see in the novel, Mrs. Jackson’s life is prolonged, but only at the cost of any comfort and quality she once had due to the lack of preventative care and focus on extending one’s life. Although I understand how precious life is, I also understand the beauty in death and remembrance, and how sometimes it gets to the point where “Mama Might (Actually) Be Better Off Dead”. I also feel that although health inequality is a major issue within our society, general and health specific educational inequalities and disparities are key contributors to these sorts of dilemmas. In providing an equal access to a quality education, we are opening doors that may have not have been opened, and which could ultimately lead to escaping the entrapment that is poverty. That being said, I am hopeful of the small steps currently being taken by America as a whole will lead to an improvement in the overall healthcare of our country, as well as determined to see that everyone is given a basic level of health care, as our health is our key to living prosperous lives.
The second half of the day we spent with Jennifer discussing our ‘true colors’, which was similar to the Myers-Briggs assessment, as well as peer-reviewing our drafted personal statements. In doing so, I found out that I am the color green, which is someone interested in working hard, engaging in lifelong learning, philosophical thinking, and someone who enjoys working behind the scene in a somewhat detached manner; which sums me up in a nutshell. In taking all these assessments and reflecting on my experiences with UPP, I understand my growing interest in pharmacological and/or biochemical research, which I am now considering a viable job for my future. Finally, in reviewing our drafted personal statements, I found myself coming in with a lot of self-doubt due to the lack of coherency, at least to me, in my statement, but as I discussed with friends, it seems I have a decent base for my statement. Although I have a long way to go, I am confident in taking these initial first steps.
This Saturday Academy was probably one of my favorite academies so far (as far as book presentations- my absolute favorite). We began the day with our book presentations on the book "Mama Might Be Better Off Dead". While I usually dread book presentation days because they tend to be one powerpoint after another, this was far from typical. We had received comments from Medhat in December that we were allowed to be creative and push the limits with our presentations- which is what I believe every group did. There was not a single group that I was not entirely engaged by. Some groups had us perform improv skits, others had games, and one group had a video of their "talk show". My group with Kyle, Howe, Eddie, Didi, and Cristiane made a game called "Luck or Die?!" where the main point of the game was to emphasize the lack of control that some people have over certain life situations from birth such as socioeconomic status, location within the U.S., chronic disease, etc. While our game did not catch like it had with all of us during our group meetings, I think that the points were portrayed successfully and encouraged lively debate among our peers. Notably, I was impressed by and admirable of Howe's stance on the topic.
At lunch, all of us were able to eat lunch and talk to middle school students from Skinner Middle School. I was impressed by the large range of interests that all these wonderful people had: from chef to doctor to psychiatrist. The two girls that I spent the most time with were Esmerelda who has wanted to be a doctor since the third grade and Aracely who wants to be a psychiatrist. More than anything, I was impressed by both of these girls because when I asked them why they wanted to be these specific things, it wasn't because of money or prestige, but because they genuinely want to help people. I know that a lot of people look at younger generations and feel hopeless, but I personally was filled with hope if the future of health care is focused on the people most.
At the end of the day, Jennifer came back for the second part of our writing workshop. We took the true colors personality tests and I discovered I was blue (which I feel was fitting). When I was looking around at groups, I was definitely surprised by a lot of people, but after thinking about it during our "picnic planning", everything began to make sense. We then had a chance to peer revise each other's personal statements.
January 26, 2013 was another Saturday Academy with the University Pre-health Program. During this academy the 2012-2013 cohort presented on the book "Mama Might Be Better Off Dead" and discussed possible solutions to the many health care disparities. Everyone presented in very creative ways, such as skits, Jeopardy games, and chance games. The health disparities that were examined were the urban poor's lack of access to care, substandard quality of care, major problems in Medicare and Medicaid, transportation issues, and lack of preventative care. Some of the possible solutions discussed were increased health care knowledge, free clinics, mobile clinics, free immunizations and other preventative care measures given in schools, and free transportation to appointments. The Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in 2010 is also a step in the right direction towards addressing some of these health care issues. The University Pre-health Program has examined many health care disparities in detail. It has prepared me well to be a physician and try to do my part to eliminate these disparities.
For lunch we enjoyed the company of local middle schoolers. It was great to be able to share our passion for education and be good role models for these kids. Kids need to hear how important their education is and they need to know to keep it a high priority in their lives.
We finished off the day with a review of personal statements and a personality test to highlight our strengths. I was amazed how well the personality tests defined us. We divided into groups based on our "colors". I was not surprised to see which student went into which group. We were taught how to capitalize on our unique strengths and how to make the best out of our weaknesses. This proved to be very helpful when writing our resumes and personal statements.
Overall, our cohort had another informative and exciting Saturday Academy. I look forward to the next one.
This week’s academy was one that I quite enjoyed. In my opinion, everyone’s presentation was very superior. Since everyone incorporated a game into their presentation it made the time fun yet informative at the same time. Even though it got a little tense at times, I think everyone handled their selves in a positive way yet got their point across. This book really focused on the health disparities that underserved populations face all the time. There has to be a better approach that our government can come up with that provides health care to the people that need it and the system will not get taken advantage of. This is easier said than done but maybe looking at other countries health care model will provide some insight on how this can be achieved. This week in my Health Organization class I had to watch a video entitled Sick Around the World. This video, although made in 2008, gave insight into how other countries ran their healthcare programs. Most of these countries have systems that obviously work for them as they don’t have medical bankruptcy and healthier citizens. Their government dictates how all of the medical services as well as the providers can charge a patient which is usually around 75% less than what we are charged here in the US. The issue with that a lot of these countries face is that the amount is too low and so now they are faced with not enough income in their healthcare “bank account” to pay all their bills. Germany’s plan was the most interesting out of all the countries the video investigated. In Germany everyone is offered health care. The people who are considered well off have the choice to opt out of the government’s plan and go with a private insurance company. Most of these well off individuals usually go with the governments plan though which helps the poor. The premiums are based on income which helps the poor and middle class and since the rich are paying more because their income is more this also is a benefit to the poor and middle class citizens. One thing that was quite interesting to me was that the insurance even pays for homeopathy therapies. So if work is stressing you out, your insurance will actually cover you to go to a spa in order to relieve that stress. Little services like this which can help people deal with their stress can assist with people traveling down a road of future heart disease, cancer, or other medical issues that thrive on the body not working properly because they are over stressed. Maybe if the US researches every countries health care plan and takes the things that work than a better plan can be created here in the US that will benefit everyone.
The last part of the academy was also very helpful. Having a cohort read the essays that we will be presenting to our future schools gives us insight on things we might want to fix to enhance our article. I worked with Kristen and she provided me with several small things that once I incorporate them into my essay will give me an even powerful presentation of whom I am and why I should be accepted into the UC-Denver School of Nursing.
This past Saturday Academy was one of the most exciting sessions so far, with the primary focus being Laurie Abraham’s Mama Might Be Better Off Dead and the issues our current health care system faces. Numerous different debates were sparked throughout the day and often led to several strong-willed opinions to be voiced. However, among all the topics brought up, the discussion of universal health care and the idea of the right to basic care were the most intriguing. In short, the health care system is one that runs by financial means and thus is limited by the amount of resources available, which, to repeat, is ultimately dictated by money. The main emphasis of our debates was whether or not these resources should be spread universally across all Americans in order to provide basic health care needs in order to stress the value of preventative care over emergency care. On a theoretical level, universal health care is an idea that many do no refute. Certainly, if it were plausible, every individual would have all the access to health care that they require and majority of our population would live healthy lifestyles. However, though health is high on our nation’s priority list, we still live in a reality in which money is also important and cannot be ignored. Even if our nation did, in fact, strongly implement a universal health care system those living in poverty would still lack the money to upkeep healthy living and would face other issues in terms of health. The yielding question is: where do you draw the line?
Still, if one thing was agreed upon amongst our cohort, it was the idea that we should, indeed, be aiming to prevent illness and disease instead of reacting to it. However, the main source of conflict arose in how to distribute the resources and money we have. Ultimately, no conclusions were reached by the end of our discussion but still several important questions were posed, causing for much reflection on what it means to be a future health care provider in a flawed health care system.
This month’s Saturday academy was particularly enjoyable due to: the creative presentations over the book “Mama Might Be Better Off Dead,” the lunch spent with the middle school students, and the reflective personal statement workshop. The book presentations were far more interactive than they have been in the past, and the few presentations that weren’t interactive were entertaining. I realize that it is difficult to find a balance between bringing serious topics into discussion and making presentations entertaining, but for the most part, the groups did a good job at incorporating the right amounts of each.
One prominent topic that was discussed dealt with how chance plays a large factor in predetermining people’s health status and outcomes throughout their lives. Although I do think chance plays a large role, I don’t believe that it is “all-determining.” Some of the groups that presented seemed to think that one’s socioeconomic status is all due to random chance. Many factors that contribute to one’s ability to earn money are definitely determined by chance, but I believe that people can harness the better sides of themselves to make their situations better. I’m not saying that people can always make it out of poverty even with their greatest attempts, but accepting that people’s socioeconomic status has nothing to do with them would promote an external locus of control. In essence, accepting that life is dictated solely by chance while neglecting freewill and pushing this idea on other people only makes them become less motivated to improve themselves.
During lunch at the Saturday academy, we all had the opportunity to eat and talk with middle school students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. These students were very nice and had great aspirations. Throughout our conversations, I tried giving little bits of advice to the students about holding on to their dreams and attaining their goals of going to college. I hope that this lunch session was inspirational to at least some of the students; there are many students I went to middle school with who could have benefitted from this experience.
The personal statement workshop began with a personality assessment that I found to be interesting. The results from this assessment seemed pretty accurate, but the psychologist in me found the whole session somewhat comical. As soon as people found out what personality categories they were put into, they began adopting their personality type’s behaviors more than they normally do. I’ve witness many groups of people do this in the past after taking personality assessments. It goes to show that when people are placed into categories they tend to subconsciously submit to what is expected of them. The application of this concept is fairly impactful when thinking about racial and gender stereotyping.
This past Saturday Academy, the cohort gave presentations on the book Mama Might be Better Off Dead by Laurie Kaye Abraham. The book documents the problems with our current healthcare system and how the lower class is affected, and focuses on the Banes’s, a poor family living in Chicago. The presentations were the best that I have ever seen, and I had a lot of fun. I admired the responsiveness of our cohort – during our last presentations, Medhat critiqued us and challenged us to make our presentations better. We rose to the occasion. The presentations that were given on the 26th were fun, interactive and creative.
One of the most notable aspects of this month’s Saturday Academy was the conversation that took place. The presentations were all based on the book that we read, but almost every discussion turned to ethics, morals, healthcare policy, the economy, the Affordable Care Act, etc. I thought it was exceptionally interesting. Everyone expressed valid points, but the idea of health care is a tough thing to discuss. Personally, I am a liberal. I support Universal Healthcare, and am more worried about granting basic care to every human being than I am about balancing the budget. However, Saturday’s discussions reminded me that it is much more difficult than simply “granting basic care to every human being”. We live in a capitalist society. Healthcare costs money. Equipment must be paid for, and doctors have families to feed. I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know much about the economy. I wish that I could wave my magic wand and provide Universal Health Care, but I can’t. I also can’t explain exactly how our country can make the switch. On one hand, I realize that this is a complicated issue that most people don’t understand. However, I often feel that I don’t have the qualifications to speak up about political issues, even if I feel strongly about them. What gives me the right to argue with fiscal conservatives, or accuse them of valuing money over human life? I know that fiscal conservatives value human life – it is just hard for me to agree with them because I don’t completely understand. To me, balancing the budget is not important when compared to providing health care. Am I wrong? Am I being short-sighted? I base my stance on my morals and my feelings – will this kind of thinking lead our country to ruin?
At this point in my life, I only know so much, and that is all I can use to make my decisions off. I know that I value every human life, no matter what their history is. I know that Universal Health Care seems like the optimum destination for this country. I also know that many intelligent, well-respected, well-informed individuals think this way as well. I know that I don’t know about economics, and that this gives me less credibility. I know that I want to learn more, which is why I have registered in Political Science for the spring semester. I know that fiscal conservatives have a multitude of good points – but I also know that, as a society, focusing on money is not the right thing to do. I know that the economy is incredibly important, but I know that saving lives and helping people is my priority. These issues clashed at the end of our discussion on Saturday, just as they constantly clash between politicians and health care providers. Right now, no one has a perfect solution.
During lunch, we had the opportunity to visit with students from Skinner Middle School. I enjoyed this immensely. The students were exceptionally friendly, and I had fun getting them to open up and have fun with use. We had some great conversations, and by the end of lunch, I was laughing hard and I didn’t want to leave. Lunch with these students reminded me that I love children, and helped to reinforce my plans for becoming a pediatrician. I have recently been considering applying for a volunteer at Big Brother/Big Sister, a charity that matches volunteers up with children so that they can act as mentors and friends. Lunch with the Skinner Middle School students solidified my plans to do this, and I will apply as soon as I turn twenty in February. I am very excited to do this.
At the end of the day, we continued with our personal essay writing seminar, presented by Jennifer Pacheco. Jennifer was a volunteer, and I am so grateful that she took the time to help us. We spent much of our time doing activities similar to the Myers-Briggs personality test. After rating characteristics on a scale of how much they applied to us, we added up our scores and found the “color” that most applied to us. My highest score was “Blue”. This was accompanied by a list of characteristics. I think that this was very accurate. Blues are in search of themselves, and I constantly feel that I am in search of myself. I value close relationships, which is a characteristic of a blue. I share my emotions, compromise, and cooperate. I love literature, need harmony, and am adaptable. I also bring unity to society. While I already knew some of the “blue” characteristics, it was also interesting to see the others in the list. Like Jennifer said, it is vital to know yourself in order to write a good essay. I had a great time with the rest of the “blues”, and found it very interesting how our characteristics stood out in our group projects. After this activity, we paired up and critiqued each other’s rough drafts. I received good feedback from Gavy and helped her with hers. In all, this past Saturday Academy was very successful!
Saturday’s Academy was reflective on the healthcare policies that are currently in place in the United States. Group presentations revolved around Abraham's book Mama Might Be Better off Dead. In order to make the audience more engaged presentations were done in the form of games and trivia. A lot of the discussions that were brought upon the different group presentations looked at how to help provide healthcare to the under served communities and what policies must be put in place in order to benefit the healthcare system for all classes. The reality is that regardless of how healthcare is changed here in the United States, there has to be some sacrifice. The United States puts an astonishing amount of money into their healthcare system yet they have some of the worst outcomes around the world. The amount of uninsured individuals is high; a large part for why the number is so large has to do with how the United States views health. It can be argued that if the United States begins intertwining health into their culture a large sum can be saved. Nevertheless it won't happen overnight, small steps to make this happen are required and if chronic illnesses can be fought some of the money saved can be used for preventative medicine to help fight these chronic diseases and potentially provide limited resources needed for the uninsured.
As Abraham states, I myself feel that a baseline of healthcare is essential. People recognize that a line needs to be drawn sometime, and often what was brought up was the example of a drug addict refusing help. People may think that the drug addict won’t want to better themselves and they might be a waste of resources, but when can humanity give up on themselves, when is it okay to give up on an individual? The drug addiction could have been prevented; it just required the initial care, the initial signs needed to be identified before catalyzing itself into a lost cause. It makes sense that the world isn’t perfect and that in fact not everyone will be able to help everyone, but that isn’t a justification to immediately cross the line on people. I believe that the change for healthcare needs to start somewhere because obviously something is not right with the current system. Some may disagree that the new changes that are currently taking place may not have been the best decisions, but nonetheless at least now individuals are beginning to realize a huge problem in healthcare in today’s society that may propagate more ideas that can potentially solve this issue. After group presentations were done the UPP fellows were invited to have lunch with middle school students from Skinner. The students I discussed with talked about video games and sports and we exchanged stories. They all want to go to college, two of them for engineering and the other for biological sciences.
It's great to hear their inspiring stories and little bit about their background. Two of the students were fraternal twins. I asked them if they got along well and they said no. Intrigued by their answer I began talking about my fraternal twin. My twin is my best friend, a lifelong friend to be exact. I explained to them that even though I may always get mad at him I knew deep inside he will always have my back and he was one of the few people that I can fully trust. They told me about their differences but did in fact admit that they got along, only sometimes they frustrated each other. I enjoy talking to children, and feel that I gave the twins a new perspective on their relationship. It made me feel warm to give them advice, and hope that I made a difference in their lives.
We concluded the academy with correcting personal statements that we previously had wrote. We each took a test similar to Myers Briggs that highlights our strengths. It was interesting to learn about the type of person that I matched with: as a blue, I like to compromise and promote harmony. The purpose of this activity is to make sure we know our traits and use them in our statements, and why these strengths are crucial for success in a company or with us. It is important to recognize your strengths and to recognize what career and/or program you chose to follow. The right fit is essential in order to live a satisfying life and to essentially have your career be an inherent lifestyle. Often times people ask me if I made the right decision pursuing such a demanding career and I often respond confidently knowing what I want to do with my life. My primary career goal often reflects my second, third and fourth career choices. So whenever individuals ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I respond without question, a respected physician.
This Saturday academy was intriguing and thought-provoking as always. I feel as though my mind is both encouraged to expand and foster new ideas and rest within the assurance of fellow forward thinkers during each Saturday Academy that I attend. It is always a wonderful experience!
We began today with our group presentations regarding the book, “Mama might be better off dead.” I was looking forward to seeing everyone’s presentations and hearing their thoughts on the multitude of complicated and controversial topics discussed in the book. As always, the thoughts of my fellow UPP cohort were insightful and full of passion and knowledge regarding the field of health care that we all aspire to work within one day. I liked that each group took the topics discussed in the book, whether it be insurance, how demographic information affects health care, or patient-provider interaction, and engaged the entire cohort in activities that made us really think about the past, present and future of health care. It is amazing to me the amount of compassion and empathy that our group shares for underserved communities. I found this enlightening after reading a book about the struggles of an underserved family and their challenges with the health care system. As future health care providers, it is unique that we are entering the field with eyes and hearts open for the well-being of our patients and a knowledge of the many health disparities present in our country and how we can work to provide optimal care for those experiencing health disparities.
One of the most eye-opening presentations for me was the group that began with having individual groups roll a die to determine potential demographic attributes, such as location, income and pre-existing conditions. It is often easy to look at people in a low socioeconomic class and find rationalizations for their struggles. They’re lazy or they enjoying working the system, for example. However, the die rolling example showed us all that while certain parts of your life can be chosen and even achieved through hard work, many parts of our lives are handed to us with no more control on our part than the roll of a die.
Following our book discussion, we had the opportunity to eat lunch with local middle school students. This was so much fun! I talked with two 7th grade girls who both had ambitious career goals and stories of their families and friends to share with me. As we finished eating lunch, one of the girls asked if she could take my picture on her phone. When I asked her why, she told me I was “cool” and “her new best friend.” This brightened my whole day and made me feel as though I made a difference in the lives of the two girls I met.
After lunch we worked again with Jennifer. She had us take a test to see what “color” fit our personality. These tests always amaze me, as they seem to bring to light parts of my personality that I thought no one could possibly understand. For example, my color was gold. The description noted that “gold” people are normally tedious in their attention to detail and their progression toward goals. They are also leaders and often slightly controlling. The activity we did with other people that shared our color opened my eyes to how certain personality traits, such as attention to detail and goal orientation can be used as selling points in applications and essays.
We ended the day by critiquing each other’s personal statements. I had the pleasure of reading Fernando’s personal statement, which gave me my own ideas for adding more personal and anecdotal-type information to my own personal statement.
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed today’s Saturday academy and can’t wait for next month!
This Saturday Academy was full with innovated presentations that involved everyone in the Cohort. “Mama Might Be Better Off Dead” opened many great discussions on today’s healthcare. The problem is obvious, but the solution is more complicated than what it looks like. Access to health care for everyone will not close the gaps in health care disparities among our population, but it will definitely be a great step towards achieving it. Fortunately I have medical insurance now for about a year but, have failed to conduct regular checkups with my physician. The problem with me and many in the situation is not having insurance for a long time that preventive care is not part of my culture anymore. The government need to fund more campaigns promoting prevention to inculcate new habits to our people. The health-fairs in the communities are very beneficial for the working Americans who do not have a primary care. The help it is not being delivered successfully if the people are not being referred to a clinic that can treat them on a regular basis. Educating our people is another solution if we are able to teach better nutrition and physical activities to the young it can really decrease some chronic illnesses in the country. It will be a messy road to better healthcare and it will not be anytime soon that is for sure. We must all work united towards achieving this goal.
The opportunity to mingle with middle school students was my favorite activity for the day. Asking young teens about their dreams for the future and seeing how excited they are to share it, makes me extremely happy. We tried to giving them the best advices and encourage them to work hard to reach their goals. The best advice I can give them was Like Walt Disney once said “if you can dream it, you can do it.” The road there is hard with in the end it will be definitely be rewarding.
This Saturday Academy provided some of the best ideas and creativity we have seen thus far. The day began with presentations on the book "Mama Might be Better Off Dead". My group and I certainly did our best to think outside the box this time around. We had a struggle at first but I felt as though it came together very nicely. As for the other presentations, they were all far beyond my expectations. They were all a lot more interactive and provided for excellent discussion. The group that had the audience present skits was extremely informative and demonstrative of the various outcomes and cases in the health field. The discussions we had that were related to the overall message of the book was stupedious this time around. I felt as though we all understood and interperted it better than anytime before. The fact that the health care system is so incredibly flawed, we can only hope that there will be change approaching soon with the Affordable Care Act. After the majority of the presentations, we spent the lunch hour with middle school kids from Skinner. It was a very enjoyable experience interacting with kids at a different level trying to figure out what exactly it is they want to do when they grow up. The boy I ended up talking to for the majority of the time was very interested in pursuing a college education but also growing up to play professional sports. All of them in general were pleasant and interactive. For the second half of the day we began with one last presentation and then the second part of the personal statement workshop. Jennifer was very informative and her approach to walking us through reading a peer's essay was great. In addition the packet of things to look for when reading an essay really helped me notice aspects of my paper that I needed to focus on more and the reactions I wanted to provoke in the reader. Along with the packet, it was really helpful seeing someone elses writing style and the approach they took to writing their essay. In addtion to the peer review of the personal statements, we also had a chance to free write about an inspirational quote. I really like how Jennifer would have us do that, it was nice to just write about something unrelated to the essays that we had been working on for some time. Overall, this Saturday Academy was one of my favorites! The several components were all equally helpful and enjoyable and I have hope that those to come will be just as great.
This Saturday Academy was home to the final book presentations of Laurie Abraham’s Mama Might Be Better Off Dead. These presentations, however, were vastly different than the ones the cohort has given in the past and were not only enjoyable but extremely interactive. The groups aimed to get the cohort to a higher level of understanding by using a plethora of techniques such as: games, interactive discussions, skits, and multimedia implementation. Although all of the presentations were amazing, the presentation my own group gave really hit home for me. It had nothing to do with our group, just the discussion that was held during our presentation. I had no idea that we were going to have such a great conversation about healthcare and it more than exceeded my expectations.
When discussing our health care system, it is near impossible to have a uniform idea on what reforms should take place - this was very apparent during our discussion. Personally, I believe that a system that is more correlated with a universal system would be beneficial to tens of thousands to Americans and that we have reached a point where this issue can be ignored no longer and some sort of reform is absolutely necessary and long overdue. However, Gavy and Alex did bring up interesting points which explain why the reform process will be so lengthy. It is nice to think of a universal health care system, but there is a lot of work to do and there is one aspect that will have to be worked out to the tee because our current system has money so locked that it would be impossible to make reforms without knowing what money will be going where. The discussion made me realize that even once Obamacare is implemented, there is still a ton of work to do to make progress because there are so many in this country who have been without healthcare for so long, depending on a healthcare system that has been failing them. Kelsey’s story really brought this concept to home for me and it will be a story I never forget.
We also had Jennifer Pacheco come in and continue our writing workshops where we brought in drafts of our personal statements to work on. We also found out what “color” we were and what personality traits were associated with said color. Knowing what your strengths are is a pretty common feat, but being able to recognize your weaknesses and turning them into a positive by using those weaknesses as a starting point for improvement is a more difficult skill and one that is extremely advantageous for one interested in becoming a healthcare provider.
The day was most insightful: I had to come to terms with what I thought about healthcare and what possible modifications/improvements I would make if I was in a position of power to do so, I learned about new skills that I have that serve as an advantage and how to work on some weaknesses that could be transformed into positives, and I was reminded that no matter how “advanced” our society is and how far we’ve come, there will be times where I will be reminded that there are always surprises and not everyone believes in tolerance and human unity.
I thought that the January Saturday academy was interesting and had some very important/helpful aspects. The Saturday academy was broken up into the following three sections: presentations about Mama Might Be Better Off Dead, part two of the personal statement workshop, and the lunch with students from Skinner Middle School.
The first portion of the Saturday academy was spent on group presentations on Mama Might Be Better Off Dead. I do have to admit that this section was particularly long but actually interesting. I was expecting this section to be boring since there was a lot of repetition during the last presentations. I was initially expecting that all of the groups were going to do a PowerPoint Presentation but I was glad to find that every group incorporated some type of active learning. For example, one group required everyone to come up with skits to mimic some of the scenarios found in the book. I think that having these activities in each group allowed everyone to remain interested while also promoting deep thought about the issues presented in the book.
The second part of the January Saturday academy was actually a big surprise to all of the fellows. I was expecting to have lunch but I was surprised when Christian came in and said we would be having lunch with middle-school students. I was excited to talk to the different students and find out what their interests were in terms of careers. I spent most of my lunch speaking to two 8th graders. One student wanted to be a firefighter/engineer while the other student wanted to be a video game designer. Both students had great aspirations and were very intelligent. One of the students loved skateboarding while the other loved to play guitar. These students were part of a program that takes middle-school students to different universities in Colorado to give the kids a better understanding of possible career choices. I think this is a great program because it helps these students develop a goal early on while also promoting students to stay in Colorado.
The third part of the January Saturday academy was dedicated to a workshop to help everyone improve their personal statements. Of the three portions of the academy, I felt that this was the most helpful for me. Writing a personal statement and other admission essays has made me nervous ever since I started at UCD. The personal statement is my one opportunity to really set myself apart from other applicants. The personal statement is a major factor in what determines whether an applicant gets an interview. As a result, I am slightly intimidated with writing a personal statement. I was really glad that we had a chance to have peer reviews because I knew that it would be helpful for me. The instructor started by having us do a quick three minute free-write about any topic. I didn’t understand why we were doing this exercise until after the three minutes passed. In that three minutes I was able to write something meaningful enough to base an entire essay around it. I never heard of this approach to essay writing but I found it to be very helpful. I do wish that we had more time to focus on the personal statement writing workshop. I was looking forward to getting really good feedback on my rough draft but we were running out of time so we only had 15 minutes to do peer reviews. For something this important, 15 minutes is not nearly enough. For this section to be more effective, the rough drafts should have been reviewed by multiple people to get different perspectives on what could have been improved.
Today's saturday academy was very emotional for me. I have had many experiences with the shortcomings of our healthcare system, and that was the theme of this saturday academy.
The presentations by each group were phenomenal and it was awesome to see just how creative and thoughtful my fellow UPP members get when left to determine by themselves what they want to present on. From talk shows, to skits, to beating up Spongebob and Hello Kitty pinatas, every presentation was a lot of fun!
As can be expected, a majority of the conversations of the day boiled down to the issue of universal healthcare. This is a subject that I feel very strongly about because of the horrible experiences my family, particularly my mother, had with insurance agencies. The fact that this industry is privatized both sickens and angers me. Throughout the day I think that I made my opinions on the subject very clear.
We also ate lunch with kids from Skinner Middle School, that was a fun experience and I really enjoyed listening to the kids talk about what they want to be when they grow up. It was really refreshing to see kids of their age getting experience on a medical/college campus. It really is important to show kids from a young age that they could end up in a place like that if they stay in school and work hard. My high school had a lot of kids that grew up assuming they would never amount to everything, it is very heartbreaking to see that.
The day ended with Jennifer talking with us about our personal statements, and our personality colors.
This week, we had our final round of presentations. Medhat encouraged each group to strive to be more creative in our approach and to present a unique message pertaining to the book, rather than strictly adhering to the discussion questions. As a result, the presentations today were far more diverse and free-form, rather than academic and didactic. Personally, I felt that this new format had mixed results. Most of the presentations came in the form of demonstrations, videos, games, and physical activities rather than lectures and powerpoints. One presentation involved a jeopardy style game that focused on testing our cohort's knowledge of obscure healthcare related factoids and statistics instead of promoting a stimulating discussion on healthcare topics. We then proceeded to watch the winning group whack pinatas with a plastic bat for about ten minutes.
Although one could argue that this week's presentations were more creative than they were previously, I would have liked to have participated in more insightful discussions on the current state of healthcare in the United States, a topic which not only affects us as U.S. citizens, but also far more immediately as future healthcare professionals and near-future professional school interviewees. Our cohort is full of extremely bright, articulate people with a variety of backgrounds and unique perspectives, and I feel that this round of presentations failed to take full advantage of our knowledge and insight.
Our presentations did clarify a few points pertaining to healthcare. Once again, our discussions demonstrated that the problems with the U.S. healthcare system are extremely layered and complicated. There is no simple solution, and even if there were, this solution could not be easily implemented without plenty of economic and political resistance. I am convinced that the greatest flaw with our current healthcare (and political) system lies in the fact that it is primarily driven by profit rather than health. In many other economic arenas (science, technology, the service industry, and the entertainment industry), the profit driven economic system has promoted astounding growth and innovation. In these cases, profit seems to be an appropriate driving force, spurring the development of new technologies and innovations that have improved the quality of life for many. When the object is maximizing profit, oftentimes the result is improved quality of products, innovation, and better service. However, another way of maximizing profit involves implementing cheaper ways of producing the product in question, effectively trading quality for quantity sold. This business model can be seen in the fast food industry and the agriculture industry, wherein profits are maximized by sacrificing food quality and the health of its customers. These undesirable effects become even more devastating in the healthcare system, where insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies act to maximize profit, catering to the wealthy while minimizing coverage for the poor. If we assume that health is a basic human right rather than a commodity (like automobiles or electronics), we must also realize that in the case of healthcare, profit is almost diametrically opposed to the overall health of a society.
So how to separate profit from the healthcare system? I believe that the most effective method the world has come up with is universal healthcare. Many opponents of this method will accuse it of being socialist, or even "communist." These opponents have a valid point. Universal healthcare is, by definition, a socialist system which redistributes money from the rich to the poor. However, this system has been proven in several developed countries (Canada, Australia, Japan, France, the United Kingdom) to drastically reduce overall administrative costs associated with distributing healthcare. More importantly, this system has consistently resulted in improved healthcare outcomes, according to metrics like life expectancy and infant mortality. While the free market system is effective in many instances, it is far from a cure-all. When it comes to the equitable and efficient distribution of healthcare, a government-sponsored, single-payor system is best.
For lunch, we visited students from Skinner Middle School. I had a conversation with Carlos, a seventh grader with designs on sports medicine in the event that he is not drafted into the NFL as a quarterback. He is a smart kid, and I think he has a realistic chance at fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor for a professional sports team. I can't speak on his quarterbacking skills, since I haven't seen him throw.
Finally, in the afternoon, Jennifer Pacheco came in to give us more guidance on our personal statements. We took a quick Meyers-Briggs "color" test to determine our general personality types, then discussed each group's strengths and weaknesses as well as how to talk about these attributes in an interview setting. Finally, we exchanged our personal statement drafts with a partner and gave critiques on writing style and content.
Overall, this Saturday Academy was enjoyable and productive. It was fun to eat with the middle schoolers and provide a bit of advice for the future. Our cohort put plenty of effort into our presentations, which I definitely appreciate. Although I wish we had spent more time on our personal statements, I felt that Jennifer's activity and Greg's constructive criticism made me into a better writer. Next stop, WELLS Center!
This months Saturday Academy consisted of book presentations and part two of the personal statement workshop. This was by far the best batch of presentations we have ever had. Every group was so creative using some sort of activity or visual aid to get the points across clearly. Most of the other presentations we have done in the past don’t compare to the ones we did on this day. We weren’t being lectured at about the same points and ideas. Everyone thought outside of the box. All of our presentations were on the book “Mama Might Be Better Off Dead”. This book presented interesting views about health care and also its flaws. I have learned about how complex our health care is. I think the over all message of this book is that we need to change health care and change the way we think about it. Everyone deserves care. In this book it follows a poor family and the troubles each individual goes through to get health care. As sad as some of the stories are in the book, it’s a clear representation of how things are in the U.S.. I can only hope that there will be huge changes with the Affordable Care Act. I also think that education on prevention is an important factor. I think we spend most of our money on treating chronic diseases but we can prevent them early on by taking care of our health/nutrition and in order to do that we need to educate. After most of the presentations, we had lunch with students from Skinner Middle School. They were a bunch of lovely kids who are full of energy and have big dreams. The group of girls I mingled with were incredibly energetic! I got to see the posters they had made and hung up around the room in which they wrote about their dreams and what they need to do to achieve them. I was certainly surprised that most of them knew what it took to get to their dreams as they included “maintain great grades, stay out of trouble, and get involved” on their posters. It was awesome to see how young most of these students were but their so driven to do amazing things. I loved spending time with these students. The last portion of our Saturday Academy was doing our personal statement part two workshop with Jennifer. She first had us do a personality color test and I got “blue”. My list of characteristics and results were completely correct. I couldn’t help but laugh when one of the other fellows who also got blue said “we are lovers of everything and fighters of disease”. He was completely right! I thought this workshop was fun, and the next activity we did was extremely helpful to me. We got to work with a partner to critique each others personal statements and give feedback. I always have trouble with personal statements because I get so frustrated on how to organize it and make it flow so it sounds right. I feel like there's a million things I want to say, but where do I put it? Where does it all make sense? And also, should I even put it in there? But at the end of the workshop I was told my personal statement sounded great and the only thing I needed to work on is transition sentences. My partner was amazing in that he explained to me how I could incorporate a good transition sentence in where they were needed. I couldn’t have been more satisfied with this month Saturday Academy and I cannot wait for next months!
I came into this Saturday academy with a bit of anxiety and excitement. For this session we were supposed to present our last and final group presentation on the book “Mama might be better off dead.” It was brought to our attention that our previous group presentations have lacked muster and were sub-par of previous cohorts. Long story short, we were told to step up our game. I am confident in saying that this time, not only did we answer the call, but we knocked it out of the park too.
Previously, I really did not look forward to these days where we had to give our presentations. Honestly, they were a pain and severely boring. However, boring was far from the adjective I would have used to describe the presentations for the day. There was a variety of all sorts of acts which involved role playing, acting, and piñatas! More importantly, they involved active participation, with an emphasis on the word “active.” It was great. I wished we had thought of doing something equally entertaining last time, but that was the past, the good thing that came out of this though, was that we learned from our mistakes and turned a potentially bleak day into a fun one.
During lunch we had the opportunity to converse with kids in a sister program. This was lots of fun, I love kids, so to be able to see and hear of their ambitions and what they want to achieve really helps me remember when I was their age and what I wanted to do. I strongly believe that the children are our future so whenever there is an opportunity for me to talk with them, share wisdom, or just hang out with them I take it. I was truly amazed by all the bright stars that were in the room, I am proud of each and every one of them and hope that their hopes and aspirations never fade away. If we could do something like this more often that would be great.
Unfortunately, our lunch time came to an end so we had to go back to the rest of our UPP agenda for the day, which concluded with a personal statement workshop from Jennifer again. To start things off, we did a personality exercise, something similar to the Myers-Briggs that we took last semester, but a more watered down version. From there we found out which color we closely associated with and regrouped with others that shared the same color as us. From there we were asked to plan a picnic and make a list of things we would do or bring. Sounds simple enough and so we all dived right in without a second thought. However, this was just merely an exercise to show how our “colors” dealt with the situation. Blues took their time to plan every detail out while oranges just jumped in and yelled ideas out with no structure or order. From there we further dissected what it meant to be in certain color groups and what our weaknesses and strengths were. It was a very effective exercise and a fun way to critically think how we can be our best by acknowledging our faults and strengths and how we can complement those attributes with other members who have what we lack or vice versa. Overall this was a very good exercise.
We rounded up this Saturday academy by going over our personal statements with a person from another color group. I partnered with Kaziwa. As I was reading through her personal statement it amazed me to read what she had to say. After having spent a summer and half of the academic year with my cohort, it just amazes me to think about how we were all impacted by a significant event in our life. Some of us lost loved ones while others had to deal with inner turmoil and the sense of not belonging, but despite all these issues, we all still managed to be some of the brightest and best students in the state of Colorado. It is a real honor that I was considered to be of this group and I can say without a doubt that everyone in my cohort will make it BIG someday.
Asides, from that personal tangent, it was nice bouncing ideas off of another person and to get their feedback on what I did well and what could use some improvement. I feel like now I know where I can make my writing more compelling and am in the process of fine tuning it. That would have not been possible if it wasn’t for Kaziwa.
|Malik ||Atiyah ||
On January 26, 2013 I attended my fifth Saturday academy with the Undergraduate Pre-Health Program. The morning started with our presentations on the novel Mama Might Be Better Off Dead. I was extremely pleased with the level of creativity and with the effort spent in making the presentations so engaging and educational. What I especially loved about the presentations was the fact that everyone expressed their own opinion on what they believed the meaning of the book was. I understand that everyone has a different background and it is amazing to listen and observe how those past experiences affect the individual’s views today.
During one of the presentations a piñata was used as a parable to illustrate some of the misfortunes within our health care system. The candy in the piñata resembled our health care system and was given only to a select few while the others watched in sorrow. Though a simple example with little complexity, this truly does delineate some of the problems within the system today. I believe that as future health care providers it is our obligation to continue to educate ourselves about some of the weaknesses of the system in order to work collaboratively and effectively to help improve those areas.
Another aspect of the academy that I thoroughly enjoyed was conversing and eating lunch with the middle school students. This allowed me to reminisce on my experiences with working with elementary students in high school. I truly believe that students at this age monitor and mimic the actions of the elder students surrounding them. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are presenting our best adequate in hopes that it will inspire them to present themselves in a respectable manner. Working with students of this age is a privilege and the lessons that are taught through these experiences are invaluable.
After lunch we gathered and spent time with Jennifer. Jennifer proposed many questions that stimulated one to critically think about who they are and what characteristics they possess. These questions led to groups forming based on similar characteristics of the individuals within the cohort. Within these groups we discussed some of the strengths and weaknesses that are common to our personality type. It was great bouncing ideas back and forth to one another. Our discussion has challenged me to put great effort in working on some of my weaknesses while at the same time building off of the strengths I acquire.
After our discussion we spent time working on our personal statements. I loved getting feedback from my peers and having them propose ideas as to how I can improve my paper. While writing my paper I realized how much I have developed and matured as an individual over the years. It is crucial that I continue to challenge myself to improve as an individual in order to better serve those around me. This Saturday academy has provided me with much needed knowledge and insight about who I am and where I plan on going.
The Saturday Academy of January 26th started with group presentations for our most recent book, Mama Might Be Better Off Dead – The Failure of Health Care in Urban America, by Laurie Kaye Abraham. The presentations were all very exciting and full of enthusiasm, which led to intense discussions regarding health care system and its reform. Most of the presentations took a game format instead of a Power Point presentation format, which was interesting and made the presentations more engaging. Our group played a game that we entitled “Luck or Die” intending to demonstrate that - as the book argues - location, economic status, and luck play a role in the type of health (and health insurance) you may have. We also had lunch with the students from Skinner Middle School; it was an enriching experience, in which I learned much from the students with whom I talked. One of the students, who was getting braces soon, shared his experience with his orthodontist. It was very enlightening to learn about his perspective on his experience and his interaction with his doctor. We also had a second workshop about personal statements. It was encouraging, but also impressed the fact that many drafts are needed before one’s final personal statement is ready to be submitted. For this part of the Saturday Academy, I had the pleasure of having Natalie read my essay and give me many ideas in addition to her regular review of my essay. Thanks Nat and congratulations for getting into CU Dental School!
The Saturday Academy this time was quite different from the last time because we had a book presentation and continued to work on our personal statement. The presentations everyone did this time were unique because it was very engaging instead of just an oral presentation. One of the group did a Jeopardy game show and another group made a video pretending as if they were on a talk show. The Jeopardy game went well and the questions that were asked were very in detailed about the book which was Mamma Might Be Better off Dead by Laurie Kaye Abraham. One of the question was about how many part does Medicare have, which is four. Many people did not remember this but it is a very important aspect of the system.
Also, during lunch, we meet with middle school children who were very interesting. They were from the east Denver area where the education system is not as great as many other places. The children were very involved with their school work and extra circular activity. When another cohort and I were asking them science related questions like what does the heart do and how does it help bring nutrients to our body, the children were able to answer it very well! The level of detail that they were able to tell me was better than the way I could explain it when I was their age!
Afterward, we worked on our person statement and we determined which personality type we were. Our personality types got into a group and we had to plan a picnic. In my group, we started out with the typical food and blanket. Somehow, the picnic involved a zoo and food for the animal also. Then, it got even crazier because we added in Avicii and Tech9 so we can have a concert going. It was very interesting to see how other people saw a picnic than from what I thought a picnic would be. Everyone has their own perceptive and working with other people will only bring more excitement to a group rather than just sticking with the same boring things that we are familiar with. We were able to read other people’s personal statement and I realized that everyone has some personal connection to the medical field. Everyone has a great reason in getting involved in the medical field. All in all, it was a great time and everyone’s input and idea were great as usual.
This month’s Saturday academy was eventful and stimulated great group discussion. I enjoyed starting with the presentations and even though we all had the same discussion questions we were all able to take a different approach on our group presentations and they turned out to be very effective. I enjoyed the creativity that took place during presentations. It was a refreshing change from the mundane lecture-style presentations from the past. I think audience participation is key when we are all presenting on similar concepts because in the past it often seemed as if we ran circles around the same topics, but this week I feel like we were able to really explore some different angles through activity and discussion. The presentations led us to a pretty heated debate on healthcare reform in the US. This was unexpected to me but it was engaging nonetheless. Upon reflection, I realize how fortunate I am to be a part of a group of young individuals, like myself, that are passionate to change the flaws in our current healthcare system. Not only that, but we are all very open and tolerant of others views and use each other’s ideas to reflect upon our own. I have never felt comfortable enough or educated enough to take part in discussions like this revolving the topic of healthcare until this year with UPP. This is an extremely beneficial discussion to be a part of and I enjoyed debating and even playing devil’s advocate at times. It is inspiring to be surrounded by others who are committed to making a positive change in healthcare while still understanding no one has a foolproof answer yet. But, through collaboration and compromise I am sure we will be a part of a positive movement in healthcare in the near future. Furthermore, on Saturday, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the middle school students. A large part of my outreach is geared towards education and I firmly believe that starts with giving young people like the ones we met, contacts, outreach, and support. A lot of times kids like these just need people to look up to and encourage them and I think it’s so exciting to have the opportunity to be that for someone young. I know growing up, I had those people in my life and I still do today, and my success depends on their guidance. I saw so much potential in some of these children and to see their goals up on the wall, clear and precise, I was in awe. I don’t give young people enough credit for their intelligence and ability to make good decisions but when I meet students like this I am reminded of their capabilities and it is inspiring and exciting and I just want to help facilitate their dreams in whatever way I can. This leads me to thinking about my own future, and how I really aspire to incorporate some type of learning-teaching-interning aspect to my career as a physician. Finally, we ended the day with the personal statement workshop. I wouldn’t let many people read my personal statement let alone my rough draft but being with my fellow UPP friends, I would feel comfortable letting any of them read and edit my essay. There is an element of trust and honest we share and I am fortunate to have people like this in my professional life. It was helpful to share ideas and thoughts with each other. And, I think I am going to continue using my editor when I make changes to keep receiving input. I also thoroughly enjoyed working with Jennifer to talk more about our personalities. I love personality tests and this one was no exception. It’s my senior year and I’ve found out more about myself this year than any other college year. I have learned that there are things I do better than others and ways I react to situations. This helps me recognize and identify my strengths so I can use them as leverage to be the best I can be for a new group or team and utilize my strongest assets while letting others carry the weight for the things I don’t do as well and they excel at. It has been a fascinating discovery full of learning and personal growth and I am thrilled to see where these new discoveries lead me and to what new opportunities and talents I discover in the process.