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Fellowship Essay Gastroenterology

My desire to become a physician was seeded on the day, when I got my painful ailment, diagnosed correctly by a gastroenterologist. I realised the importance of the methodical research and its application on the correct diagnosis and the subsequent treatment. My childhood was spent in an underdeveloped country. Since my childhood, I am suffering from allergic colitis, which is a kind of diarrhoea resulting in bloody stool due to allergy to milk protein. Because of lack of modern medicine practices in the region, I could never have an effective diagnosis. My parents and I learned to manage my symptoms through the process of exclusion, until we moved to US at age 18. That was the time, I was evaluated by a gastroenterologist, who did the right diagnosis and hence advised the appropriate prevention & treatment. The spark to become a physician was lit during that instance and I resolved to fulfil my dream as and when possible.

I always looked at the specialist in any area with awe. But, as I was nearing my medicine graduation, I felt the need of getting into the full depth of a particular branch of medicine. This could have been any branch, until the day I had one of the most memorable patient encounters. I was treating a patient whose sister was recently diagnosed with cancer despite adequate screening done beforehand. While I was discussing the need for colorectal screening, I felt that his sister’s case actually contradicts the finding of the screening test. This moment of truth left me with a biting thought that I need to learn more to make accurate diagnosis and appreciate the fact that machines can be wrong at times!

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My distinguishing factors

In addition to my medicine studies, I have been an active participant into the colorectal cancer screening awareness and education at the local churches. I like to talk to people for hours on the measures they can take to prevent the colorectal diseases. I am delighted when people come to me with their queries and appreciate the way I explain the typical medical lexicon in layman’s language. I find it comfortable to communicate with people of any age, geography or gender. Establishing a people-to-people contact and making everyone understand the complex diseases is a quality, which I cherish in me.

Following few lines layout the research I have done so far:

  • Colorectal Cancer Screening Barriers Study Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, VCU School of Medicine as Research Assistant.

From: 12/2008 to: 04/2009       

  • Project: Predictors of Colonoscopy Screening for Colorectal Cancer
  • Researched on current colorectal cancer screening guidelines, prevalence of use and effectiveness of different screening methods
  • Examined barriers and predictors to colonoscopy screening that patient identify in a self report survey
  • Differences in presentation of Atrophic Metaplastic Autoimmune Gastritis between Caucasian and African American populations
    • A case series study that examined the different clinical presentation of AMAG

Following are the manuscripts and poster presentations I have done so far:

  • Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma at Jejuno-Colonic Anastamosis: Case report and literature review. Abstract accepted and poster presented at annual American college of gastroenterologist meeting
  • Acute Liver Failure as a Rare Complication of Metastatic Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Abstract accepted and poster presented at annual American college of gastroenterology meeting
  • A guide to Colorectal Cancer Screening. Presented for Department of Education Services, Southside Regional Medical Centre, Petersburg, VA.

The Program, which can complement my strength and help me grow

As can be envisaged from the last paragraph, my most of the research have been in the area of gastrointestinal. In order to build on my knowledge so far, as well as, the satisfaction to pursue the field I am really interested in, I have opted for training into this program. I am confident that this program would complement to the strength I have as well as help me in growing further. I would be able to build on the research I have done along with exposure to the day-to-day patient diagnosis.

Summing up

Overall, I would like to convey my deep interest in wide ranging gastrointestinal pathologies, mostly malignancies and inflammatory bowel diseases. I am also keen to acquire knowledge on how these diseases affect the minority populations.

I strongly hope that you would provide me the opportunity to be part of the specialist programme at the academic centre. This would not only help me in furthering my research interest but also make me an outstanding gastrointestinal specialist similar to the previous batches from this centre.

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