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Ophthalmology Residency, Asian Immigrant

January 8, 2013

No one knows it when it actually happens, defining moments, and those instances when our destiny is laid out before us.  Growing up in a rural village in Moldova, being groomed from childhood for a life of service to others, I have always seriously lived this path.  George Adams put it best when he said, “It takes but a brief time to scent the life philosophy of anyone. It is defined in the conversation…the look of the eye, and…the general mien...It has no hiding place…like the perfume of the flower- unseen, but known almost instantly. It is the possession of the successful and the happy. And it can be greatly embellished by the absorption of ideas and experience of the useful of this earth.”

 Even before being introduced to Ophthalmology in my rotations, I was fascinated by a doctor’s ability to see a wealth of information in a patient’s eyes: a recent change in eating habits, a stroke, assessing the entire body’s overall functioning from peering into our most fascinating and outwardly beautiful organ.  It was then that I decided to pursue Ophthalmology, convinced that this specialty treated the patient as an emotional and physical totality.

 Coming to America was a decision born of wanting to engage in the finest Ophthalmology residency possible.  America’s benchmark educational institutions have a reputation that span the world with access to state-of-the-art research facilities, world-class faculty, dynamic student bodies and generous endowments.

 Having completed my ophthalmology residency, and pediatric ophthalmology fellowship in Moldova, I have an excellent base of clinical acumen.  Indeed, I gained invaluable knowledge working in a unit that treated a mixture of patients with different pathologies, performing dozens of cataract surgeries weekly without phakoemulsification, or advanced technology.  Working independently during night shifts, dealing with emergencies, ocular traumas, at times I felt helpless bereft of resources that bound my hands.  I did my best, helping the underprivileged maintain a positive outlook and bringing a smile to their faces.

 During my two-year pediatric ophthalmology fellowship, I treated all ages, from neonates to teens.  I find it especially satisfying since I have always had a deep and abiding love for children and looked forward to forming the type of enduring relationships that characterize a distinguished pediatrician.  For me, my job, my skills are a gift, a sacred responsibility, seeing beyond the clinical and embracing the spirituality in my work, aiding in the amelioration of lives.

 Joining an American residency program in Ophthalmology, I aim to acquire increased competency and a greater depth of understanding.  Furthermore, I want to be a part of a stimulating and challenging system that places emphasis on thinking and cre­ativity.  Moreover, it is my intention to conduct research into the various diseases afflicting the retina and cornea.

 Coming from Moldova, a country struggling with crushing poverty and corruption, I have a worldview that is quite different from my academic peers.  There is a need to reach out to our diverse patients, sympathizing with differences, be they cultural or socioeconomic, an appreciation of the rich tapestry of life.  This is critically important given the vast influx of persons with varied backgrounds into America’s healthcare system.  Given my cultural competency, extensive travels and ability to speak two languages competently, I will be adept at reaching out to my diverse patients.

 “One hundred years from now, it will no matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, but the world may be better, because I was important in the life of  [people]” -- Forest Witcraft.  I do not want to  become  a millionaire, or famous.  I just want to continue the job I started in my country, becoming a professional ophthalmologist and a concerned patient advocate.  No other job ever has nor ever could bring me the same level of personal, professional or spiritual satisfaction.

 Thank you for your time and consideration.

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