2017 Scholarship Recipient

As a budding debater, I have learned that things are never as black and white as they seem; every issue seems to have viable arguments on both sides. Because of this, I have learned to always keep an open mind and to invite conversation from people with ideas and beliefs different from my own. This quality keeps me grounded and allows me to learn from others and remain receptive to opposing viewpoints, but it becomes somewhat of an obstacle when I want to take a definitive stand on an issue because I am constantly reminded of all the viable arguments on the opposing side. One topic I've had no trouble in taking a definitive stand on is the importance of global health. I consider health to be one of the most fundamental components of life and something that every living person deserves. As such, I believe that our society needs to place more emphasis on developing cures, improving medical procedures, and enhancing the quality and availability of effective healthcare.

Growing up as a kid in Haiti, I was surrounded by sickness and disease, and it felt debilitating to see people around me suffering from unknown afflictions and not be able to do anything about it. That's why medicine became so important to me from an early age. Medicine allowed me to put a name and a face to the diseases and showed me that it was possible to rescue people from their suffering. Since then, I have become enamored with science and medicine and have sought to continuously expand my knowledge. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become interested in engineering and innovation, but these new interests have not taken away from my interest in medicine. Rather, I’ve begun imagining ways to combine these disciplines. I can envision myself in an operating room with a team of doctors or in a lab with a team of passionate people experimenting with out-of-the-box ideas to innovate and create new medical technologies. I want to further my education so I can empower myself to not only learn how to heal patients directly using the tools and procedures available today, but to be able to create the next set of medical devices and procedures that will improve the standard of care and revolutionize medicine for the future.

The solution to global health is threefold. It will involve creating new techniques, procedures, and technologies to target and cure the world's diseases in an effective way and leave patients in as close to a state of full functionality as possible. The emphasis should be on minimal invasiveness and restoration. The fields of regenerative and restorative biology will become key players here. Tissue engineering and stem cell research in particular offer a lot of promise in terms of healing patients that have damaged organs and lost limbs. The ultimate goal would be to develop techniques to repair damaged organs to full functionality so that patients don't become debilitated or attached to the hospital and need to continuously return for more procedures. The second step is take these tools and put them in the hands of educated, well trained, and compassionate doctors that value and are committed to their patients. Skill and education should always continue to be emphasized, but special care should be given to nurturing doctors who are compassionate towards people. The last step is to make this high quality care available to the people who need it. This could be done through free clinics that offer basic care and medical consultation to local communities in need and an online professional database that brings together current up-to-date medical information to keep people informed and help them make medical decisions. This step will also involve political leaders who can implement policy that make medical insurance available to those who need it. With these methods working together in harmony, we will make great strides towards improving global health.

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