IlyaR

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I had a friend who joined the LGBT community and caught a lot of flak for it. I was there for him throughout and would like to write about it. Would this be too political of a subject? I know most physicians withhold judgement and are probably more understanding than the average Joe, but the neurotic premed is saying "maybe the ADCOM is a staunch conservative"

Should I just do it?
 

Doug Underhill

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Let's review the actual question in detail, taken from the Duke secondary thread on SDN:

2. Describe a situation where you have chosen to advocate for someone who is different from yourself. What does advocacy mean to you and how has your advocacy developed? How do you see it linked to your role as a physician/leader? What risks, if any, might be associated with your choice to be an advocate?

Advocacy is defined as the act of pleading, supporting, or recommending. It seems like the question is heavily political in nature.
 

IlyaR

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Let's review the actual question in detail, taken from the Duke secondary thread on SDN:

2. Describe a situation where you have chosen to advocate for someone who is different from yourself. What does advocacy mean to you and how has your advocacy developed? How do you see it linked to your role as a physician/leader? What risks, if any, might be associated with your choice to be an advocate?

Advocacy is defined as the act of pleading, supporting, or recommending. It seems like the question is heavily political in nature.
Good point, just gonna run with it
 
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Goro

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Goro says it's time for some Xanax. Maybe someone at Loma Linda or LUCOM will feel this way, but Adcoms are more openminded than your neuroticism is aware of.


I don't think "being there for your friend" is quite the same as "advocating for LBGT rights", though...unless you were defending your friend against other people.

the neurotic premed is saying "maybe the ADCOM is a staunch conservative"
 
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IlyaR

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I don't think "being there for your friend" is quite the same as "advocating for LBGT rights", though...unless you were defending your friend against other people.

the neurotic premed is saying "maybe the ADCOM is a staunch conservative"
Absolutely defended him. A lot of that circle of friends are not as understanding as I am and run on protein powder and machismo

Actually wondering about what I wrote for the possible risk section of that essay. Inherent in defending people who are criticized is receiving criticism yourself. I wrote that it frankly doesn't concern me and its a small price to pay for doing the right thing. Too blunt?
 

Goro

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Sounds good.

Absolutely defended him. A lot of that circle of friends are not as understanding as I am and run on protein powder and machismo

Actually wondering about what I wrote for the possible risk section of that essay. Inherent in defending people who are criticized is receiving criticism yourself. I wrote that it frankly doesn't concern me and its a small price to pay for doing the right thing. Too blunt?
 
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intangible

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Absolutely defended him. A lot of that circle of friends are not as understanding as I am and run on protein powder and machismo

Actually wondering about what I wrote for the possible risk section of that essay. Inherent in defending people who are criticized is receiving criticism yourself. I wrote that it frankly doesn't concern me and its a small price to pay for doing the right thing. Too blunt?
I think this is more a supporting detail than a main idea. This would be better served as a part of a greater argument on advocating for social justice...defending your friend because he or she is LGBT isn't extraordinary, it's common decency. Pick something that actually required sacrificing your own wants and needs in order to make someone else's life better.
 

Doug Underhill

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It's not common decency for many. For much of America, prejudice is still the rule, even if it has become impolite to use slurs about it in public.
 
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Mine took an entirely different, want to swap and edit?
 

intangible

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It's not common decency for many. For much of America, prejudice is still the rule, even if it has become impolite to use slurs about it in public.
Your job as a physician hinges entirely on the patients ability to trust you as a person. They have to feel safe. As a member of the LGBT community, it feels a lot like OP is capitalizing off of our status in the same way that a racist claims he/she isn't racist, because they have a Black acquaintance.

To me, it just seems disingenuous to write a self-congratulatory paper reflecting on a time when you weren't a blatantly crappy human. It just seems a lot less altruistic and a lot easier to embellish.
 

IlyaR

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Pick something that actually required sacrificing your own wants and needs in order to make someone else's life better.
Is this truly necessary to be an advocate? When I worked in a clinic the doctor and I would write appeal letters to insurance companies so that patients can get the treatments that they need. He was advocating for them, but all it took was his position and a keyboard.
 
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Don't have time to explain why your judgement is inappropriate but it wouldn't matter anyways. Your mindset is clear.

Your job as a physician hinges entirely on the patients ability to trust you as a person. They have to feel safe. As a member of the LGBT community, it feels a lot like OP is capitalizing off of our status in the same way that a racist claims he/she isn't racist, because they have a Black acquaintance.

To me, it just seems disingenuous to write a self-congratulatory paper reflecting on a time when you weren't a blatantly crappy human. It just seems a lot less altruistic and a lot easier to embellish.
 

IlyaR

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Your job as a physician hinges entirely on the patients ability to trust you as a person. They have to feel safe. As a member of the LGBT community, it feels a lot like OP is capitalizing off of our status in the same way that a racist claims he/she isn't racist, because they have a Black acquaintance.

To me, it just seems disingenuous to write a self-congratulatory paper reflecting on a time when you weren't a blatantly crappy human. It just seems a lot less altruistic and a lot easier to embellish.
While I can see where you're coming from, I disagree with your analogy entirely. The essay prompt wasn't: "Explain how you aren't homophobic or prejudiced", it was "Explain how you advocated for someone different than yourself". I think I clearly outlined how I did so, and although it doesn't seem altruistic to you, the circumstances were what they were
 

intangible

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What if we changed the premise to something more tangible?

You befriended a Black man that was bullied by his peers because of his race.

To write a paper about it, you are forced to frame being Black as an inherent flaw, thus, remaining friends with this person amplifies your altruistic qualities and your ability to see through social boundaries.

In the same way, the "white knight" kind of perspective on an underprivileged minority is morally okay—after all, you are somehow affecting their immediate environment. However, you're also perpetuating the idea that their differences make them inferior, and by association, make you superior because you were able to make that connection anyway.

Personally (and I do mean personally), I would write about some tangible advocacy you carried out over your time in college (working with financially disadvantaged populations, patients with terminal illnesses, etc.).
 
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What if we changed the premise to something more tangible?

You befriended a Black man that was bullied by his peers because of his race.

To write a paper about it, you are forced to frame being Black as an inherent flaw, thus, remaining friends with this person amplifies your altruistic qualities and your ability to see through social boundaries.

In the same way, the "white knight" kind of perspective on an underprivileged minority is morally okay—after all, you are somehow affecting their immediate environment. However, you're also perpetuating the idea that their differences make them inferior, and by association, make you superior because you were able to make that connection anyway.

Personally (and I do mean personally), I would write about some tangible advocacy you carried out over your time in college (working with financially disadvantaged populations, patients with terminal illnesses, etc.).
No, you are forced to write about how being Black and from a Black culture is different than whatever race and culture the writer is from. I think you are reading too deeply into this prompt.
 

intangible

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No, you are forced to write about how being Black and from a Black culture is different than whatever race and culture the writer is from. I think you are reading too deeply into this prompt.
So the advocacy paper is actually supposed to highlight the differences between cultures? Don't you think that's counter-intuitive? I am just not seeing any advocacy here...the fact that being someone's friend is perceived as charity is probably the entire point of advocating for marginalized groups in the first place.
 

IlyaR

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So the advocacy paper is actually supposed to highlight the differences between cultures? Don't you think that's counter-intuitive? I am just not seeing any advocacy here...the fact that being someone's friend is perceived as charity is probably the entire point of advocating for marginalized groups in the first place.
Describe a situation where you have chosen to advocate for someone who is different from yourself.
What does advocacy mean to you and how has your advocacy developed? How do you see it linked to your role as a physician/leader? What risks, if any, might be associated with your choice to be an advocate?


We clearly have a different understanding for what advocacy is.

Also, there is no problem with highlighting differences between cultures, races, creeds, etc. They are different after all. In fact, it would be foolish to overlook them, especially in a field where there are different risks associated with different populations.
 
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So the advocacy paper is actually supposed to highlight the differences between cultures? Don't you think that's counter-intuitive? I am just not seeing any advocacy here...the fact that being someone's friend is perceived as charity is probably the entire point of advocating for marginalized groups in the first place.
I believe they want you to understand that there are differences between cultures. And not even necessarily cultures, but differences between people and their beliefs. They want you to recognize that someone is different from you and that you advocated for them (whatever it means to you to advocate for someone). They want physicians who will advocate for his or her patients regardless of differences. At least this is how I am interpreting it.
 

intangible

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Again, huge overestimation of impact. Refusing to treat someone differently because they have relationships with people of the same biological sex just doesn't seem noteworthy, and probably even more important, doesn't at all answer the question of advocacy. Were you involved in a gay rights organization? Do you have other places in your application where you can objectively prove that you actually care?

If not, the essay is useless—just another box to check. If you want a strong application, make sure you can walk the walk.
 
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Again, huge overestimation of impact. Refusing to treat someone differently because they have relationships with people of the same biological sex just doesn't seem noteworthy, and probably even more important, doesn't at all answer the question of advocacy. Were you involved in a gay rights organization? Do you have other places in your application where you can objectively prove that you actually care?

If not, the essay is useless—just another box to check. If you want a strong application, make sure you can walk the walk.
They aren't trying to screen out people who haven't done something unbelievable. It is like the challenge essay question, you don't need to have faced a challenge that is as extreme as being homeless for twenty years. It can be a simple challenge that you responded to in a great way. Here, you don't need to have paraded the streets of a major city to fight for gay marriage legalization. Most people haven't done anything like that and it doesn't mean they won't be a good doctor.
 
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