Applicant name: Andrea Achkouty

It was the 9th of March 2002, 2 days before my birhday, that I received the most
guttwrenching information of my childhood. : my own mother suffered from cancer. No news
had ever hit me harder. However, it was that very annoucement that drove me to pursue a
career in medecine. In fact, seing my mom heal from this illness generated in me some sort of
admiration towards the physician that was taking such good care of her. I wanted to become
that physician.
I started med school 7 years ago and recently graduated cum laude. Never have I questionned
my career path, until the day I met Emmanuel. I was introduced to him during my first day at
the AIDS hospice, a place that reeked from disease and neglect. He was a tall, very thin, fifty
year old AIDS victim who was just recovering from a stroke that left him with aphasia. I took
him to the nearest hospital where the wait for his appointment was too long. Hungry, I
suggested we go and get some lunch. He resisted at first; alienated by his family and friends,
he was not used to anyone being kind to him. When his hamburger arrived his face lit up with
the most radiant smile. I found it amazing that something so little bought so much.
Eventhough I was ecstatically happy that I had litterally made Emmanuel’s day, the emotional
neglect that he suffered from disgusted me. This was a harsh side of medecine I was not
accustomed to. That’s when I wondered whether I really wanted to get into medecine or not.

My interest in medecine started out with an enjoyment of science. From general biology to
advanced neuroscience, the study of complexe biological systems has been an amazing
journey characterized with new discoveries in each class. My research with Dr. Pitt on
degenerative diseases further stimulated my curiosity. Also an other research conducted with
Dr. Cruise on drug therapies used on patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s
disease was pretty satisfying. Nevertheless, while I enjoy incorporating research into my
career, the meeting with Emmanuel made me realise that the lab’s distant analytical approach
wouldn’t help me show compassion to my patients.

Dr. Thurman for whom I have volunteered for two years always said that the desire to become
a doctor comes from deep within. In his office I always tried to make patients feel
comfortable. I always spent time with Dr. Thurman talking about a physician’s role, he was
like a mentor to me. I learned the many responsibilities of a medical doctor such as personal
integrity, compassion, the love of knowledge,etc. Nevertheless, even after those two years, I
was still unprepared for Emmanuel.

The abandonment that caused Emmanuel’s loneliness nauseated me. But after thinking about
it, I realised that meeting Emmanuel and working at the hospice gave me an opportunity for
accomplishment and personal growth. I did not turn my back on Emmanuel or medecine. I am

. He made me realise that medecine involves not only problem solving and analysis but also compassion and caring.glad I met Emmanuel.