Personal Statement and Alternative Medicine?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sng33, Jun 3, 2002.

  1. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member

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    Did any of you focus/ mention alternative medicine/ complimentary medicine in your personal statement. A good deal of my experiences have dealt with alternative medicine and nutrition such as my senior research project, and some of my work experience. I want to incorporate this into my personal statement,
    yet I don't want to scare off the notriously conservative admissions commitees. Did any of you guys mention alternative/ complimentary medicine in your personal statement? If so, how was it taken by the admissions commitees, and what were your ultimate results (acceptance/ rejections).
     
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  3. ellerose

    ellerose Member

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    I didn't mention complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in my personal statement, but I did mention coursework at my undergrad institution on CAM in my secondaries as being an area of interest. However, it was never a focus point of my essays. I'm not really sure how any of the adcomms really took it. In an interview at Univ of Washington I mentioned CAM in response to a question. I didn't get in there (but I also said the likelihood of practicing in the Washington state area was slim, since I wanted to go back to my home state eventually--their mission statement is to provide physicians for their state). Stanford, on the other hand, seemed pretty open to my responses about CAM (I got in there). They even have elective classes in hyponotic therapy, and coursework about various aspects of CAM. I don't know that this helps much, but you definitely want your personal statement to reflect you and your desire to become a physician. If CAM is involved heavily in your decision, then mention it. You may not want to make it the only focus, however. If you do, then you may get questions like: Why don't you go into naturopathic medicine/chiropractic/acupunture/massage therapy/etc./etc. Write a few drafts of your statement with varying degrees of CAM references in them, and take the drafts to someone (or a few people) you trust to help you determine what might work for you.
     
  4. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    I mentioned my family's heavy interest in alternative, preventative and nutritional therapies in my PS. It was not the focus of my essay, but simply mentioned in the history of my decision to go into medicine. No one specifically commented on it, and I did get favorable comments on my PS as a whole. Out of 23 applications, I was invited on 14 interviews, went to 13, got 5 acceptances, 6 waitlists and 11 rejections (9 pre- and 2 post-interview).
     
  5. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member

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    SMW, how did you structure your personal statement? Was it basically like a timeline type progression on how you decided medicine? Or was it more of a creative story, like everyone is saying we should write. I am having a tough time thinking of a creative story that implicitly illustrates character traits of mine. I also wanted to write a sort of progression on how I decided medicine, but wasn't sure how interesting it would be. As far as the alternative/ complimentary medicine how did you only briefly mention it without seeming like it came from left field. Did you develop your families use of complimentary medicine, and take a stance such as for or agianst? I am trying to get some idea on how I can stick to the timeline type style of the personal statemnt, but also add in the complimentary medicine thing. What do you think?
     
  6. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending

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    I majored in Nutritional Science and Toxicology and spoke quite a bit about the importance of whole-ism in medicine. I didn't mention any specific modalities, but I did mention my volunteer work with the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and how it was inspirational to see an effort to recognize the multi-dimensional aspects of health and disease. I said something about it being incredibly inspiring and that it led me to question the Cartesian dualism still inherent in some aspects of medicine. Because I am interested in preventing and treating cvd and type 2 diabetes, it seemed a valid point to mention the importance of dietary and lifestyle changes (obesity, aside from cigarettes, will probably be the number one public health problem).

    At my NYU interview my interviewer didn't care for it too much (waitlisted). UC Irvine didn't really mention much about it, but it went over really well with my student interviewer (waitlisted, then accepted). UCSF loved it (I brought it up. The interview was closed-file). My interviewer and I talked about various forms of stress management (yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc) for awhile. The student interviewer seemed interested as well (accepted). My interviewer at Einstein was receptive (to a certain extent). I think because my research, major, and volunteer experience all center around preventive health behavior, he felt that my views were well thought and not too 'touchy feely'.

    I was rejected without interview from San Diego, Los Angeles, Stanford, Davis (presecondary), and Mount Sinai. It my personal statement turned them off, good. I am not going to front for anyone. My demeanor was mature, and my responses were well thought out and grounded. Show them who you are and let the chips fall where they may. A statement written from the heart is important.

    I wish you the best.
     
  7. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by sng33:
    <strong>SMW, how did you structure your personal statement? Was it basically like a timeline type progression on how you decided medicine? Or was it more of a creative story, like everyone is saying we should write. I am having a tough time thinking of a creative story that implicitly illustrates character traits of mine. I also wanted to write a sort of progression on how I decided medicine, but wasn't sure how interesting it would be. As far as the alternative/ complimentary medicine how did you only briefly mention it without seeming like it came from left field. Did you develop your families use of complimentary medicine, and take a stance such as for or agianst? I am trying to get some idea on how I can stick to the timeline type style of the personal statemnt, but also add in the complimentary medicine thing. What do you think?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">It was basically a time-line progression starting with why my family was so interested in alternative health approaches (serious heart and allergic conditions) and how preventative health practices, alternative nutritional therapies, and health education were part of my life from birth and going on to describe how I became intriqued with human biology in college even though I didn't think I was pre-med, with my EC's and what they contributed to my decision woven into the narrative. Although it wasn't a "creative story," I like to think it was a little creative in the way it was written! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> I didn't take a stance for or against, and I even made a joke about how all my friends perceived my mother's "weird" health practices while I was growing up. Many secondaries will ask you to write another essay about how you decided on medicine if it isn't covered in your PS, so unless you really want to write another essay on top of all the extra ones schools will give you to write with their secondaries, you should definitely get this topic out of the way in your PS.
     

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