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Medical How would these topics work for diversity essay?

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Jun 11, 2010
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
Although I'm not anywhere close to applying to medical school, I have been thinking about the diversity I bring to a medical school. From my understanding, applications usually involve an essay or two about diversity.

I just feel... very privileged in my life experiences and upbringing. I thought it would be good to see if my ideas are worthy of being built upon.

My ideas:
1) I've always been extremely empathetic and giving when it comes to mental health. I believe this is reflected in my hundreds of hours of hospice volunteering, where I visited and talked to hospice patients and hundreds of hours (soon a thousand) of crisis text line volunteering, where I have had hundreds of conversations of people on the brink of suicide, survivors of horrible abuse, mental illness, grief, and more. I'm a kind, giving, and caring person in many other ways too. I like to foster senior dogs nobody else wants because they are too old or sick.
2) Come from a non-medical family. None of my family nor my extended family is in medicine in any capacity. My extended family has a tradition of working in the postal office and blue collar jobs. My parents, however, have bachelors degrees and did unusually well for themselves. But we don't have any connections to wealth or highly educated extended family.
3) I speak German and I'm also a citizen of Germany, as well as the US.
4) I've been vegan for around 5 years now. I'm in it for the animals, environment, slaughterhouse workers, and health. I feel like this may be a sensitive topic for some people, so I really don't want to offend anyone. :( I don't do any activism or anything for it honestly, it's just a part of my life, a habit. Could I use the angle that a lot of the younger generations are becoming vegan and vegetarian and avoiding animal products for the environment, so as a doctor I can give them guidance on how to avoid health problems on a vegan/reduced animal products diet? I remember when I first became vegan, I had a wonderful doctor who gave me health check ups and blood tests and supplements, so I wouldn't have to worry.

Thank you!
Number one is admirable, but you're supposed to do this.

#3 might work if you spent considerable time in Germany.

The Rest are non-starters.
Introspection is a required trait in a doctor. What makes you cool?


Full Member
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2013
  1. Resident [Any Field]
1. Not unique. Everyone applying to medical should, or does, have this on their application.
2. Not unique. I would say most medical students are the first to go to medical school.
3. May work if you can find enough to write about and how your background brings diversity to your medical school class.
4. No.
Oct 14, 2011
  1. Academic Administration
Choice #3 is interesting but you need to develop that more for me to be convinced that's appropriate. You can be an Armed Services brat... it has its own interesting perspectives when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

Do you know what diversity means to the medical school you're applying to? I agree with @Goro you're supposed to have some sense of self-reflection and introspection, which will be further refined when you get into school.

But you better also know the mission of each school and their take on the importance of diversity and inclusion in their program and their community service opportunities. In what way have you been made to be uncomfortable every day that allows you to connect with others who feel similarly (though maybe about other things)? You'll be working with patients who are afraid every day of losing their jobs, getting behind in their education, being misunderstood, their health... where can you connect with these feelings that many patients have in your daily life?

Thank you for your responses. I did not grow up in Germany nor was I a military brat, but I've spent an eight-month chunk there living with my grandparents. I also spent many summers there. I actually attended a public school there when I was younger and during the eight months I immersed myself in the community, improving my German and learning about people from different cultures.

When I was in Germany I lived in an tiny little town, a region filled mostly with elderly people, but also immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and China, seeking a better life in Germany. I got to know these people and their perspective on lives and how they are struggling to make it in a country where they don't have any job experience, no language, no family, and are trying to go to university.

At one point I actually broke my foot and I went through the medical experience in Germany, visiting a rural German hospital. The area seemed to be struggling medically - a hospital had just closed, and now if someone had a heart attack, they would have to drive over two hours through windy mountain roads.

Would any of these be options?

I also enjoy writing short stories, fantasy and sci-fi.

Also, when I lived there, for the first time in my life I felt like an outsider. I had to adjust to a new culture and polish my language skills and get ready for any comments about America and our politics.

I really wish I had more diversity about me. I've always had an easy life, which is a blessing, but I'm freaking out a little because I was looking at the school-specific forums and almost all of them mention diversity!

Thank you.
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