Ten years from now I envision myself in the early years of establishing a practice that serves people who have traditionally had less access than most to medical care. My major focus will be on prevention of illness at the community level. I know from personal experience the sense of isolation that can come from not being considered either important enough or economically viable enough to deserve mainstream attention, and I want to commit my life to doing what I can to eliminate that kind of indifference.
I see myself serving an inner-city or other underserved community, not merely dealing with illness and injuries but also helping my patients to understand how their own attention to maintaining good health can enrich their lives. By my tenth year, I want to be established enough to have earned the trust of my community and to have begun to attract other physicians and nurse practitioners to joining me in my practice. I know that in the current health care climate, few doctors can afford to work in a vacuum, and I expect to have found allies who care as deeply as I do about the importance of empowering and validating those patients who are too often ignored or discriminated against by mainstream society. This may not be the field of medicine that is most financially rewarding; but it will be the most emotionally rewarding.
I do not believe that I have an unrealistic vision of the work I want to do. I know it will be demanding, psychologically and financially. I hope to find enough fiscal resources to support both my education and my subsequent career plans, since I do not expect my patients to be able to carry this burden. Nevertheless, the prospective challenges excite me. I have already learned that I possess strengths and reserves beyond what I would have guessed. I look forward to the next decade.
I have had a lifelong interest in the health care field in general, an interest that has been