Master of Public Health

1.  Statement of purpose for Masters of Public Health in USA

I would like to think of a world where people would give priority to prevention rather than cure and save millions of dollars in medical procedures and health care provisions.  During the initial stage of my medical studies, I was considering a career in rehabilitation medicine because of the exposure that I had in physical therapy.  Although I enjoyed the field of helping people recover from their injuries and regain some of the functions that they have lost,

I have often wondered why people prefer to spend so much money on seeking effective medical treatment instead of preventing illnesses, diseases and injuries.  While having close contacts with patients and monitoring their health conditions, my heart was drawn to pursue a career that would give emphasis to prevention and primary care so I can help my country and my fellowmen in Vietnam.

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When I complete my Master degree in Public Health, I would like to collaborate with the Department of Health in educating my countrymen on the importance of preventive medicine so they can be spared of costly medical bills and they will be able to live a healthy and productive life.  Furthermore, I would like to be involved in research so I can impart my knowledge to other doctors and medical students and facilitate an exchange of knowledge and views among medical professionals on issues related to public health in my country and abroad.

2.  Submit a narrative describing my past education, experience, and current professional career objectives.

Through the Japanese government scholarship, I was awarded a full scholarship to take a medical course in Japan.  I have lived in Tokyo, Japan for 6 years.  Currently, I am on my last year of my medical studies in Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

I obtained an initial introduction to public health during the 2-month course period in my current university.  The one semester class provided me with a basic but thorough understanding of the issues faced in health care today.  Then, I spent a month of internship in various health clinics in Tokyo and its outskirts.  To increase my knowledge about health care in other parts of the world, I participated in a month of externship in Western health care in the Gynecology department in Medical University of Valladolid in Spain.  As a medical student, I have spent the last two years of my studies in the hospitals and health clinics.  This experience has given me a clearer view about health care.

I am thankful that each month, the university provides a special lecture and health care seminar that enabled me to meet some public health leaders specializing in various fields in different countries.  The knowledge and exposure has further strengthened my belief that no matter how developed a country is or how well organized their medical and health care system is, their citizens will still demand for a better health care system, a better preventive medicine and sanitation.

Public health will always be a problem that will demand tremendous work in order to find an effective and efficient solution to a health problem without sacrificing quality.  The continuous problems faced by professionals in public health demand innovative and carefully thought solutions.  My medical background has also provided me with a chance to view health care programs in different perspectives and triggered my interest in preventive medicine and quality health care.

In Vietnam, I had a chance to assist my parents while they were treating patients in their clinic.  Sometimes, I join them whenever they do their rounds and visit patients in the hospital.  My parents taught me the importance of having a good patient-doctor relationship and to maintain a good bedside manner at all times.  They believe that an effective cure does not only come with its physical treatment, it should also come together with the emotional and spiritual upliftment.  When all things fail, the patients’ determination and will to survive will take over.

My parents have exposed me to the medical cases and issues that have confronted them during their medical practice.  I had the chance to review the medical history of the patients and understand their illnesses.  I have also met some specialists who had meetings with my parents to discuss the best possible treatment that could be given to their patients.  In many cases, I have often seen a lot of people go to the hospital or consult a doctor when their illness is already worst.

Others have to remain in the hospital for many days for further observation and further treatment.  There are young people who have suffered from diseases and health problems such as heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and diabetes that could have been prevented by following a healthy lifestyle.  I have witnessed how members of the patients’ family struggle to search for money in order to save the lives of their loved ones and be provided with the treatment that they needed.

During those years, I have always been nagged by the issue of prevention and cure and how each citizen could have a longer lifespan and a better quality of life if they were informed and educated about the prevention of illnesses.  I have also thought about how the country’s allocation of resources to those who have preventable illnesses could have been used to cure other non-preventable sickness.  All these thoughts have pushed me to serve my country and be in the field of public health.

I still render my volunteer service whenever there is a chance to join the medical mission sponsored by various non-government organizations.  In the past medical missions, I have worked with volunteer doctors, nurses and para-professionals.  I interviewed patients and recorded their complaints and medical history.  Then, I accompanied them to the doctor who provided the treatment and gave them the necessary prescriptions and medicines.

I also assisted the doctors in making referrals to the hospitals and other specialist.  Sometimes, I accompany some doctors who monitor the progress of these patients.  My hunger for knowledge and my passion to be of service to the community continuously grow with every exposure that I have in the field of health and medicine.  The fulfillment of seeing people respond to the treatment and to see the smiles in their faces is priceless and worth every ounce of work and perseverance that I have given to my studies and profession.

3. Plans that the applicant has to use the education and training acquired at university, the needs and/or challenges the applicant perceives as important in the relevant field of study, and any personal qualities, characteristics, and skills the applicant believes will enable him or her to be successful in the chosen field of study.

Foreign students like me will benefit from the extra-ordinarily talented professionals and interdisciplinary program that emphasize on problem solving and the acquisition of fundamental public health skills.  The faculty brings a range of skills and real-world experience to its work while providing the foundation for our intellectual growth.

As a citizen of an Asian country, I am glad that the program incorporates research and service activities that are designed to identify and resolve economic, clinical and behavioral issues focusing on Africa and Asia.  This will enrich my knowledge in disease control and prevention while learning ways to improve the health condition of people residing in resource poor countries.

So many lives were affected in Asian countries due to diseases transmitted by insects (malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever), through food and water (cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, parasitic infection), through intimate contact (AIDS/HIV, hepatitis B), and other diseases (Schistosomiasis, rabies, tuberculosis, pneumonia).

Vaccinations for measles could have prevented pregnant mothers from delivering a child with mental retardation, deafness and blindness.  Early death among children could have been prevented if there is a massive immunization drive in the community.  Since Vietnam is part of Asia, I would like to actively support and participate in the implementation of the health program not only in my country but also in other Asian countries.

Being a foreigner, I believe that it will be a challenge to know about the public health programs, policies and issues as well as health services across the states.  In my graduate studies, I expect to have a number of research papers and case studies to work on that will enriched my knowledge and exposure on the different side of health care that is found in a developed country.  There is a big difference in terms of public health policies and programs between developed and developing countries.  In my studies, I would like to thoroughly study its differences and would like to determine how the health care policies and programs in the United States can be adapted in Vietnam.

How can I keep my countrymen healthy?  How can I contribute to the quality of care in Vietnam?  I would like to find answers for these questions before returning to my homeland after the completion of my graduate studies in public health.  I welcome the challenge to study in a technologically advanced country.  My dedication and passion to serve my country outweighs the challenge and the obstacles that any foreign student will face in a foreign land.

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