For my first student interview, I spoke with Nana Amma Sekyere. She is a fellow second-year medical student at Central Michigan University College of Medicine (CMED). She actively promotes diversity at CMED by leading the Student Diversity Committee.
I sat down with Jade Johnson, the Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion at Central Michigan University College of Medicine (CMED), to talk about current initiatives to further promote cultural competence on campus.
What does it mean to lead a meaningful or purposeful life? One common feature that appears in many cultures is the pursuit and attainment of happiness throughout life. Recent research has unearthed predominant patterns in happiness, and consequently, two major perspectives have emerged: hedonia and eudaimonia.
“Wow, your accent is so impeccable! How long have you been learning English?” “You must have so many doctors in your family, I’m sure it is easy for you.” “Do you really want to become a doctor? Or is it just because your parents are forcing you to do so?”
“Time of death: 12:26 p.m.” Hearing those words on the first day of my Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rotation was surreal when just a few hours ago we were discussing the patient’s status during rounds.
In college at the University of Michigan, I struggled to find the right place for my blended identity. I felt like the students involved in Indian identity groups were judgmental of those students who did not fit their specific idea of what it meant to be Indian. A friend at the time who was involved in one of those groups would refer to me as an “Oreo” — brown on the outside and white on the inside — for not watching Bollywood movies.
A recent publication in the Journal of Neurology caused significant outrage not only within a forum dedicated to Black doctors and trainees, but also in the medical community online at large. Much like the rest of the readers, I was deeply troubled and did not understand the purpose of the article.
My eyes ran across the same paragraph for the fifth — or maybe even sixth — time in the span of 15 minutes. Though I was giving my undivided attention to the paragraph, I could not move past it; I was at a complete loss for how to convey my next point.
I believe in the power of storytelling. As an avid sports fan, I am no stranger to the captivating narrative of athletes.
I gritted my teeth as I stretched my pinky finger across the fretboard of my acoustic guitar, reaching for the last note in a D-sharp chord. My unconditioned hand was cramping from the fourth chord progression that I was trying to learn, and after straining a little bit more, I huffed in exasperation and slammed my tutorial book closed.
Drawing from this discussion of humility, one can see that we are not so different from our patients, which may seem obvious but is too often not embraced. We are all limited; that is the natural order of things.
To be clear, for black medical students, supporting Black Lives Matter and other health equality and social justice initiatives is not a matter of a professional oath. It is a matter of life or death, close or distant — that of a loved one or of a stranger of the same hue and shared struggles.