I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities being an Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) student has given me—my seven years with the program have exceeded all of my expectations. As part of HPME I have been able to explore my interests and even develop passions I didn’t know I had. The flexibility of the program allowed me to study both Psychology and Religious Studies during my undergraduate years, where I was able to learn not only about the intricacies of social interactions but also how religious doctrines can influence the mindset and decision-making of both individuals and entire populations. I also picked up rowing as part of the Northwestern Crew Team.
As a college student I spent some time working as a public health intern at the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) and the Evanston Health Department. These experiences allowed me to discover my passion for public health and community-engaged research practices. Upon matriculating to the Feinberg School of Medicine, I enrolled in the MD/MPH program where I was able to learn about social determinants of health and health equity. My curiosity about healthcare disparities led to work in South Africa where I was able to see first-hand how medicine exists at the intersection of country, culture, race, and finance. It was actually through these public health experiences that I became exposed to dermatology at the Northwestern Center for Ethnic Skin and decided to pursue dermatology as a career. The core values and analytical skills I gained in the MD/MPH combined program are invaluable and something I would have missed out on had I not been an HPME student.
An added plus of being in HPME is that this program serves as a strong support system. Being with the same cohort of students during undergraduate and medical school training has been such a pleasure—I am so proud of all the incredible things they have and will accomplish. The HPME administration is also quite helpful and encourages each student to find his or her passions. HPME has been a great fit for me for a multitude of reasons—I know without a doubt that the program has been instrumental to my self-discovery and future medical career. I am excited to start the next phase of medical training at NYU for dermatology residency and am grateful to HPME for shaping me into the person I am today.