Alumni members share lessons learned and useful words of wisdom with scholars working towards a successful career in the health professions.
Alfredo Martinez is a 2013 SHPEP scholar from UCLA. He is currently a second year dental student at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.
“The best advice I have to offer is to work hard and grow. Never stop challenging yourself and keep looking for and striving towards difficult, yet fair roads that will provide constructive criticism to better oneself. Persevere despite difficult times, whether it is in school, family, or personal problems. Everyone will make mistakes and go through difficult times, but it does not have to hinder you. You are the one who is behind the wheel of your destiny, and with enough passion and perseverance you can transform your mistakes into success, your disadvantages into advantages. Find a mentor, whether it be a dentist or a professor that will guide you in your path and inspire an inner desire in you to learn more. Seek to stay busy and engaged with your profession of desire. Have a vision of your success and never forget that a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step and you’ll see the love.”
Enijah Smith-Joe is a 2013 SHPEP scholar from UCLA. She is currently a MPH/MSW candidate at Louisiana State University and LSU health Sciences Center at New Orleans. She is scheduled to graduate May 2019.
“I strongly encourage health profession students to find a hobby and/or keep up with ones they have. Also, make sure to keep a healthy balance between academic and social life because otherwise, you’ll be miserable. Lastly, if you do not already have one, develop a strong support system. I recommend this because people in this system will lift you up on your challenging days, remind you of your potential on days you have doubts, and encourage you to push through any obstacles you might face.”
Advice for Prospective SHPEP Applicants
by Diego Da’Silva, Barry Ordu, SHPEP Alumni Board Members
“Writing a personal statement can seem very intimidating. As past SHPEP applicants, and now current alumi board members, we also felt the that way. As a result, we want to provide guidance to what can be a stressful process for SHPEP applicants.
The key word here is “personal.” Your statement should not be written by anyone else on the planet. We encourage you to connect your personal narrative with your desire to pursue a career in healthcare. Be very specific and descriptive in the stories you tell – this is the classic teaching of “show not tell” and makes for a much stronger impact. Describe the personal characteristics you believe will make you a good healthcare provider and connect that to experiences you’ve had. More specifically, a general approach we recommend is going through the key moments in life that have inspired you to pursue a career in the health professions. You should also connect the importance of diversity within your statement.
Once you have a first draft make sure you have it reviewed by as many experienced mentors as possible – the more eyes the better. Don’t be discouraged if multiple people feel different ways about your essay; this is completely normal and ultimately you will submit the product you are most proud of. Potential mentors are pre-health advisors at your school or alumni of the program. Any healthcare professionals you know may also help. An English professor can help with the quality of the writing and grammar. Lastly, most institutions have a writing center funded by the school where you can take your essays to be reviewed and edited; tap into those resources for a clean and well-written statement as well.
Even though writing essays may be a stressful process you should look at this as a way to stand out in the sea of applications. Always remember, compelling essays can tell you more about a person than letter grades or a resume. Good luck and happy writing!”
by Barbara Franklin, SHPEP Alumni Board Member
“Applying to SHPEP was to this date, one of the best decisions I have ever made!
It exposed me to the world of health care disparities in a way that I otherwise would not have had. I am grateful for this experience and what it taught me, especially taking on a new chapter as a SHPEP alumni board member. Now, it is your turn. As you begin your application journey, I hope that you will find the following words of advice helpful and encouraging.
Here are a few helpful tips that will help you during your application process:
- Start with the easiest part of the application first, like your name and contact information. Getting that done is a bigger deal than you think! Start small.
- Ask your recommenders early, if possible, for recommendation letters. Then, send them email reminders as your deadline approaches. I recommend sending one reminder two weeks before the application deadline, and another one week before the deadline. Doing so keeps it on their mind without being too overbearing.
- Last but not least, be real. Let me say it again: Be real. Be you. Tell your story and not what you think they want to hear. This includes the light and dark parts of your life. Letting this shine in your application will not only make your application unique, but will also make you come alive on paper.
I believe in you and am rooting for you and your journey. Let’s do this thing!”