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Medicine And Health Essay Example

Sample Medical School Essays


This section contains two sample medical school essays

  1. Medical School Sample Essay One
  2. Medical School Sample Essay Two

Medical School Essay One

Prompt: What makes you an excellent candidate for medical school? Why do you want to become a physician?

When I was twelve years old, a drunk driver hit the car my mother was driving while I was in the backseat. I have very few memories of the accident, but I do faintly recall a serious but calming face as I was gently lifted out of the car. The paramedic held my hand as we traveled to the hospital. I was in the hospital for several weeks and that same paramedic came to visit me almost every day. During my stay, I also got to know the various doctors and nurses in the hospital on a personal level. I remember feeling anxiety about my condition, but not sadness or even fear. It seemed to me that those around me, particularly my family, were more fearful of what might happen to me than I was. I don’t believe it was innocence or ignorance, but rather a trust in the abilities of my doctors. It was as if my doctors and I had a silent bond. Now that I’m older I fear death and sickness in a more intense way than I remember experiencing it as a child. My experience as a child sparked a keen interest in how we approach pediatric care, especially as it relates to our psychological and emotional support of children facing serious medical conditions. It was here that I experienced first-hand the power and compassion of medicine, not only in healing but also in bringing unlikely individuals together, such as adults and children, in uncommon yet profound ways. And it was here that I began to take seriously the possibility of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

My interest was sparked even more when, as an undergraduate, I was asked to assist in a study one of my professors was conducting on how children experience and process fear and the prospect of death. This professor was not in the medical field; rather, her background is in cultural anthropology. I was very honored to be part of this project at such an early stage of my career. During the study, we discovered that children face death in extremely different ways than adults do. We found that children facing fatal illnesses are very aware of their condition, even when it hasn’t been fully explained to them, and on the whole were willing to fight their illnesses, but were also more accepting of their potential fate than many adults facing similar diagnoses. We concluded our study by asking whether and to what extent this discovery should impact the type of care given to children in contrast to adults. I am eager to continue this sort of research as I pursue my medical career. The intersection of medicine, psychology, and socialization or culture (in this case, the social variables differentiating adults from children) is quite fascinating and is a field that is in need of better research.

Although much headway has been made in this area in the past twenty or so years, I feel there is a still a tendency in medicine to treat diseases the same way no matter who the patient is. We are slowly learning that procedures and drugs are not always universally effective. Not only must we alter our care of patients depending upon these cultural and social factors, we may also need to alter our entire emotional and psychological approach to them as well.

It is for this reason that I’m applying to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as it has one of the top programs for pediatric surgery in the country, as well as several renowned researchers delving into the social, generational, and cultural questions in which I’m interested. My approach to medicine will be multidisciplinary, which is evidenced by the fact that I’m already double-majoring in early childhood psychology and pre-med, with a minor in cultural anthropology. This is the type of extraordinary care that I received as a child—care that seemed to approach my injuries with a much larger and deeper picture than that which pure medicine cannot offer—and it is this sort of care I want to provide my future patients. I turned what might have been a debilitating event in my life—a devastating car accident—into the inspiration that has shaped my life since. I am driven and passionate. And while I know that the pediatric surgery program at Johns Hopkins will likely be the second biggest challenge I will face in my life, I know that I am up for it. I am ready to be challenged and prove to myself what I’ve been telling myself since that fateful car accident: I will be a doctor.


Medical School Essay Two

Prompt: Where do you hope to be in ten years’ time?

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be writing this essay and planning for yet another ten years into the future, part of me would have been surprised. I am a planner and a maker of to-do lists, and it has always been my plan to follow in the steps of my father and become a physician. This plan was derailed when I was called to active duty to serve in Iraq as part of the War on Terror.

I joined the National Guard before graduating high school and continued my service when I began college. My goal was to receive training that would be valuable for my future medical career, as I was working in the field of emergency health care. It was also a way to help me pay for college. When I was called to active duty in Iraq for my first deployment, I was forced to withdraw from school, and my deployment was subsequently extended. I spent a total of 24 months deployed overseas, where I provided in-the-field medical support to our combat troops. While the experience was invaluable not only in terms of my future medical career but also in terms of developing leadership and creative thinking skills, it put my undergraduate studies on hold for over two years. Consequently, my carefully-planned journey towards medical school and a medical career was thrown off course. Thus, while ten-year plans are valuable, I have learned from experience how easily such plans can dissolve in situations that are beyond one’s control, as well as the value of perseverance and flexibility.

Eventually, I returned to school. Despite my best efforts to graduate within two years, it took me another three years, as I suffered greatly from post-traumatic stress disorder following my time in Iraq. I considered abandoning my dream of becoming a physician altogether, since I was several years behind my peers with whom I had taken biology and chemistry classes before my deployment. Thanks to the unceasing encouragement of my academic advisor, who even stayed in contact with me when I was overseas, I gathered my strength and courage and began studying for the MCAT. To my surprise, my score was beyond satisfactory and while I am several years behind my original ten-year plan, I am now applying to Brown University’s School of Medicine.

I can describe my new ten-year plan, but I will do so with both optimism and also caution, knowing that I will inevitably face unforeseen complications and will need to adapt appropriately. One of the many insights I gained as a member of the National Guard and by serving in war-time was the incredible creativity medical specialists in the Armed Forces employ to deliver health care services to our wounded soldiers on the ground. I was part of a team that was saving lives under incredibly difficult circumstances—sometimes while under heavy fire and with only the most basic of resources. I am now interested in how I can use these skills to deliver health care in similar circumstances where basic medical infrastructure is lacking. While there is seemingly little in common between the deserts of Fallujah and rural Wyoming, where I’m currently working as a volunteer first responder in a small town located more than 60 miles from the nearest hospital, I see a lot of potential uses for the skills that I gained as a National Guardsman. As I learned from my father, who worked with Doctors Without Borders for a number of years, there is quite a bit in common between my field of knowledge from the military and working in post-conflict zones. I feel I have a unique experience from which to draw as I embark on my medical school journey, experiences that can be applied both here and abroad.

In ten years’ time, I hope to be trained in the field of emergency medicine, which, surprisingly, is a specialization that is actually lacking here in the United States as compared to similarly developed countries. I hope to conduct research in the field of health care infrastructure and work with government agencies and legislators to find creative solutions to improving access to emergency facilities in currently underserved areas of the United States, with an aim towards providing comprehensive policy reports and recommendations on how the US can once again be the world leader in health outcomes. While the problems inherent in our health care system are not one-dimensional and require a dynamic approach, one of the solutions as I see it is to think less in terms of state-of-the-art facilities and more in terms of access to primary care. Much of the care that I provide as a first responder and volunteer is extremely effective and also relatively cheap. More money is always helpful when facing a complex social and political problem, but we must think of solutions above and beyond more money and more taxes. In ten years I want to be a key player in the health care debate in this country and offering innovative solutions to delivering high quality and cost-effective health care to all our nation’s citizens, especially to those in rural and otherwise underserved areas.

Of course, my policy interests do not replace my passion for helping others and delivering emergency medicine. As a doctor, I hope to continue serving in areas of the country that, for one reason or another, are lagging behind in basic health care infrastructure. Eventually, I would also like to take my knowledge and talents abroad and serve in the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.

In short, I see the role of physicians in society as multifunctional: they are not only doctors who heal, they are also leaders, innovators, social scientists, and patriots. Although my path to medical school has not always been the most direct, my varied and circuitous journey has given me a set of skills and experiences that many otherwise qualified applicants lack. I have no doubt that the next ten years will be similarly unpredictable, but I can assure you that no matter what obstacles I face, my goal will remain the same. I sincerely hope to begin the next phase of my journey at Brown University. Thank you for your kind attention.

To learn more about what to expect from the study of medicine, check out our Study Medicine in the US section.

Sample Essays

Related Content:

Tips for a Successful Medical School Essay

  • If you’re applying through AMCAS, remember to keep your essay more general rather than tailored to a specific medical school, because your essay will be seen by multiple schools.
  • AMCAS essays are limited to 5300 characters—not words! This includes spaces.
  • Make sure the information you include in your essay doesn't conflict with the information in your other application materials.
  • In general, provide additional information that isn’t found in your other application materials. Look at the essay as an opportunity to tell your story rather than a burden.
  • Keep the interview in mind as you write. You will most likely be asked questions regarding your essay during the interview, so think about the experiences you want to talk about.
  • When you are copying and pasting from a word processor to the AMCAS application online, formatting and font will be lost. Don’t waste your time making it look nice. Be sure to look through the essay once you’ve copied it into AMCAS and edit appropriately for any odd characters that result from pasting.
  • Avoid overly controversial topics. While it is fine to take a position and back up your position with evidence, you don’t want to sound narrow-minded.
  • Revise, revise, revise. Have multiple readers look at your essay and make suggestions. Go over your essay yourself many times and rewrite it several times until you feel that it communicates your message effectively and creatively.
  • Make the opening sentence memorable. Admissions officers will read dozens of personal statements in a day. You must say something at the very beginning to catch their attention, encourage them to read the essay in detail, and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
  • Character traits to portray in your essay include: maturity, intellect, critical thinking skills, leadership, tolerance, perseverance, and sincerity.

Additional Tips for a Successful Medical School Essay

  • Regardless of the prompt, you should always address the question of why you want to go to medical school in your essay.
  • Try to always give concrete examples rather than make general statements. If you say that you have perseverance, describe an event in your life that demonstrates perseverance.
  • There should be an overall message or theme in your essay. In the example above, the theme is overcoming unexpected obstacles.
  • Make sure you check and recheck for spelling and grammar!
  • Unless you’re very sure you can pull it off, it is usually not a good idea to use humor or to employ the skills you learned in creative writing class in your personal statement. While you want to paint a picture, you don’t want to be too poetic or literary.
  • Turn potential weaknesses into positives. As in the example above, address any potential weaknesses in your application and make them strengths, if possible. If you have low MCAT scores or something else that can’t be easily explained or turned into a positive, simply don’t mention it.

Public health is preventing injury and disease, prolonging life and protecting populations by promoting health through product safety and in physical, social and economic environments. Responsibility for promoting the health of the public is shared between the government and communities. Public health focuses on the health of populations, rather than individuals. It is concerned with wide-ranging strategies that concentrate on the prevention of injuries and disease.

Public health in the 20th century have improved the quality of life, increased the life expectancy, and the reduction or elimination of many communicable diseases in populations. The topic “taxing sugar beverages” is a public health issue because Americans drank as much as 13 billion gallons of sugar-sweetened beverages a year, which is the largest source of added sugar and excess calories in the American diet and disputably making it the single largest dietary factor in the current epidemic of obesity.

These sugary beverages are inexpensive to buy, but are costly to the U. S because $174 billion per year is spent on diabetes treatment and $147 billion on other obesity-related health problems. Implementing the penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages can have the potential to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease, while saving $17 billion in healthcare costs over ten years and generating $13 billion a year in tax revenue.

The fact that researchers estimated that the penny-per-ounce tax could actually reduce new cases of diabetes by 2.6%, as many as 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths proves that the excessive consumption of sugary beverages is a public health issue (“A Penny-Per Ounce. ” 2012). (b) Social justice focuses on the “overall fairness of a society” in how it divides and distributes common advantages and common burdens. It coincides with the moral issues that define public health: to advance human well-being by improving health and to do so by mainly focusing on the needs of the most disadvantaged.

When Powers and Faden stated, “what lies at the moral foundation of public health is social justice,” they meant social justice is the primary foundation for health improvement for the population and fair treatment of the disadvantaged. Social justice accounts for institutions and organizations in the society to provide access to what is good for individuals and society as a whole. Without social justice as the primary foundation of public health, healthcare would be considered as an economic good and it would be the individual’s responsibility for health.

There would be a greater emphasis on individual well-being rather than the overall population well-being. Social justice is so essential to the mission of public health that it can be described as the field’s core value. (c) Ethics is standards of right and wrong that advise what humans should do, they are usually in terms of rights, obligations, fairness, specific virtues, or benefits to society. The ethics of public health is centered on the principles and values that lead actions to promote health and prevent injury and disease among the population.

Public health ethics highlight the importance of partnership, citizenship, and community. The two principles I feel are the strongest support for why “taxing sugar beverages” is an ethical issue in public health are: Overall Benefit and Communitarianism. Overall Benefit involves public health decisions based on overall statistics and demographic trends. These decisions are better for each one of us although all interventions may not directly benefit everyone. When these public health interventions are properly implemented and regulated the existence of them is far more beneficial than detrimental.

The overall benefit supports “taxing sugary beverages” as an ethical issue because the penny-per-ounce tax will affect everyone that purchases sugar-sweetened beverages no matter their amount of consumption. This tax will be more beneficial for all Americans because it can reduce medical treatment costs for diabetes and other obesity-related health problems substantially. It also has the chances to decrease the prevalence of diseases such as stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Communitarianism relies on the idea that what is good for the whole is necessarily good for its parts (p. 10). From this perspective, public health interventions are good for individuals simply because they benefit the community as a whole (p. 10). Communitarianism benefits the “tax on sugary beverages” because although the tax is more focused on reducing the consumption of those who drink these beverages it also protects those who don’t consume them regularly by reducing the prevalence of them being diagnosed with diseases related to consuming these sugary drinks.

This can sometimes cause conflict because it is not always the case that what is good for certain individuals and what is good for the community will agree, but this strategy is worth giving consideration because it justifies public health interventions. (d) To address “taxing sugary beverages” changes to government regulations on these sweetened beverages should be changed to include the regulation of grocery stores, restaurants, and vending machines that sell these items.

There should also be regulations on advertising commercials and nutritious caloric beverages, water, and diet drinks should begin to replace the sugar-sweetened beverages. I feel this way because the act of placing regulations on these beverages will protect citizens’ health to be more beneficial and cost-efficient to our society. These regulations have the ability to prolong the quality of life, prevent the prevalence of diseases and protect the population.

Works Cited

  • “A Penny-Per-Ounce Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages Keeps the Doctors Away and Saves Money. ” Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. N. p. , n. d. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. <http://www. mailman. columbia. edu/news/penny-ounce-tax-sugar-sweetened-beverages-keeps-doctor-away-and-saves-money>.
  • Faden, Ruth and Shebaya, Sirine, “Public Health Ethics”. The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2010 Edition),
  • Edward N. Zalta (ed. ), URL= http://plato. stanford. edu/archives/sum2010/entries/publichealth-ethics/

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