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Ji Hae Lee
March 13, 2019
This past summer, I had the privilege of interning at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. I was excited at the prospect of working in a hospital setting, conducting clinical research, and shadowing doctors of various specialties – as a person who was on the fence about applying to medical school, this internship served as an opportunity to see what it was truly like to work in the medical field as a healthcare professional.
For my research project, I was matched with my mentor and principal investigator, Dr. Kazuma Nakagawa, and we worked on analyzing the temporal trends of preeclampsia with severe features found in the United States and Hawaii. My main responsibilities consisted of conducting literature reviews, assisting in data collection, analyzing data, and presenting a final report on my findings. Working on this project gave me insight on how clinical research can be integrated into medicine and opened my eyes to the various health disparities present within the state.
As I continued to spend more time in the hospital listening to clinicians and healthcare professionals talk about their experiences and reasons for going into medicine, observing doctors interact with their patients, and learning about community health and patient engagement, I realized the importance of humanity, shared decision making, and communication in the field of medicine. This internship served as my breakthrough moment for discovering my passions in patient advocacy and bridging health disparities. The experiences I gained from this internship has modeled for me a new purpose – to serve people affected by serious illness and help them live out their lives meaningfully.
Words cannot fully express how grateful I am for the opportunity I had this summer. The resilience and dedication of the medical professionals to heal their patients were deeply inspiring, and the significance of the human connection in addition to the clinical aspect of medicine are lessons that I will carry with me going forward in my journey through medicine. For me, medicine resides at the intersection between my passions of helping others and rigorous scientific inquiry; and so, my hope is to pursue a tightly interwoven career in patient advocacy and medical care.