Warren G. Lavey and Dr. Holly A. Rosencranz Fund
Amish Desai – 2012 Recipient
Tell me about yourself and your current experience at the UIC College of Medicine.
My experience at UIC COM was rewarding and inspiring. It was rewarding because I was trained by and learned from some of the best in the fields of Internal Medicine. Having mentors like Dr. Zar and Dr. Lopata created a passion in me to create and sustain a fund of knowledge that I hope will make a great physician. They, along with countless others instilled in me the right attitude and qualities, and I am grateful for that. My experience at UIC COM was inspiring because it helped me continue and strengthen the reasons and framework as to why I became a doctor. Programs such as Patient – Centered Medicine Scholars, Global Health leadership program, along with the activism and leadership from AMSA continued to fuel this fire within. I am grateful and proud off my experience at UIC.
How did you decide to go into the field of Medicine?
I made the decision to go into medicine when I found an avenue to combine my curiosity about the way the human body worked and my interests in social justice: advocating for patients as a physician. An undergraduate class on the HIV/AIDS epidemic helped solidify this decision.
What inspired you to help others Globally?
As I graduated, an undergraduate professor of mine, Garrett Duncan of African-American Studies wrote me these words, “oppression, in whatever form, poses a threat to all of us and it is in all of our best interests to do what we can, wherever we are and in whatever capacity we work, to eliminate it.” This idea underscores both my desire to become a physician, and the way I look at health & illness.
I truly believe that as a physician in the US, I have privilege. With that privilege comes immense responsibility. As an Anthropology major, I have been interested in the social, political, and economic context of health and disease. However global health to me is not only of interest from my prior studies and as a son of immigrant parents, but more importantly it is fundamental issue of equity and justice.
Why did you select this destination?
One of my mentors at UIC in regards to Global Health was Dr. Andrew Dykens. As a 2nd year medical student, as part of the PCM program, Dr. Dykens was my concentration leader for the Immigrant/Refugee group. During this time, I came to hear of Peace Care and Dr. Dykens experiences in West Africa. Peace care, a collaborative between UIC department of family medicine, Peace Corps, and government of Senegal, looks to improve on the issue of training healthcare workers in low resource settings to attack the notion of “brain drain”. With this collaborative, healthcare delivery can be sustainable and given directly by the community it serves. I sought to work with them because of the familiarity with Dr. Dykens, the chance to work in West Africa, and the opportunity to engage in sustainable global health work.
How did this experience from the Lavey/Rosencranz Award impact your life or influence you?
The perspective from my experience with Peace Care in Senegal taught and reinforced several important lessons. One, my experience reminded me again that for global health delivery and policy development, you must be on the ground and engage with the stakeholders and community for effective and relevant interventions. Second, that global health work can come with challenges and setbacks, especially in low resource settings. For example, being unable to access a nitrous oxide tank for training during the 2nd phase of the Cervical Cancer project – treatment with cryotherapy. But how to overcome and endure through effective teamwork, coordination of the details, and communication with the stakeholders were important lessons learned. The time I spent in Senegal continued to remind me of the need for effective healthcare in low resource settings and the amazing work that is and can be done. I believe the opportunity with Peace Care through the support from the Lavey/Rosencranz Award, will continue to live with me in my future endeavors in global health through residency and beyond.