Your Path to Medicine

By: Philip Fallah

Growing up as an Iranian-Chinese American, my parents emphasized the importance of community as it is an inherent value to those cultures. Whatever I did when I “grew up” would be with the purpose of uplifting those in my community without the same privileges that I had as a child. Thanks to Ms. Chambers, my high school Biology teacher, I found a deep appreciation for science that cultivated my want to dedicate my life to the study and/or practice of “science”. At this point, I thought I would either go into research or healthcare.

In college, I discovered that medicine sat at the intersection between service and science. Through a friend I was hired as a student researcher under the UW Department of Surgery (side note: the friends you make in class are the best form of networking as they can speak to your qualifications better than any resume). With this opportunity, I shadowed in the operating room and learned about volunteer programs in the Seattle area. At Swedish, I volunteered as a COPE Health Scholar – a program that trains you to get direct hands-on experience with patients by helping ambulate, feed, and round on patients in different departments. I felt immensely fulfilled assisting patients from the day they were admitted to the day they were discharged.

Through another friend, I was hired as a scribe in the Emergency Department in Burien (I again emphasize my previous side note). As a scribe, it was my job to follow one of the doctors around and write up their charts. This experience showed me that health emergencies can strike anyone at any time, but as a physician I would be able to intervene and make a difference. I applied to medical school the summer I graduated college (June 2018) and was accepted at the UW School of Medicine where I have continued to seek opportunities, like Doctor For A Day (DFAD), that serve communities that have been underrepresented and/or are underserved. I feel very honored to help host DFAD events and increase diversity in medicine as I believe it is a fundamental step to bridging health disparities in this country.

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