Eva Montes (2nd Quarter, 2007)

by Josh Barsch on August 20, 2010

2nd Quarter, 2007
Dale E. Fridell Scholarship Winner
Eva Montes
UC-Berkeley

I was born in Modesto, California and I am the first one out of my extended family to attend a 4-year university. I became interested in the sciences during high school when I was in the Health Careers Academy and took courses that embarked my interest. This is why I chose to major in Molecular Environmental Biology at UC Berkeley and pursue a career in science. I am interested in human health and hope to one day become a physician in my hometown. I want to be a part of targeting diseases that affect our human population with a focus of easing the pain of one patient at a time but I also want to be active in my community where the role of information is a priority. I am currently finishing my last year at UC Berkeley and am aiming to become the best candidate I can be for medical school. I am also striving in remaining active in my community by volunteering at the Suitcase Clinic and the Student Health Sports Medicine Clinic at our school health center.

I am interested in working particularly with disadvantaged communities because I believe in the aspiration in making health care more accessible. This is why I believe preventative and primary medicine are important in our communities. It is important to bridge the gaps between the patients and health care providers when delivering health care and I believe that if I can somehow be a part of that, then these positive relationships will carry on to changing the faces of health. This is how I hope to contribute to the world.



A Portion of Eva’s Winning Essay:

I became interested in the sciences during high school when I was in the Health Careers Academy and took courses that embarked my interest. I was astounded to learn how each course intertwined with each other as I slowly realized that genes of an organism are the driving force behind all cell functions. This is why I chose to major in Molecular Environmental Biology at UC Berkeley and pursue a career in science.

I am interested in human health and hope to one day become a physician in my hometown. I want to be a part of targeting diseases that affect our human population with a focus of easing the pain of one patient at a time but I also want to be active in my community where the role information is a priority.

Education is information and information is self-awareness. Self-awareness allows each individual to identify problems that affect their ability to live a happy and healthy life- physically and socially and then collectively can advocate changes in their communities. In terms of health care, lack of education and information causes unawareness of health care resources, which results in poor preventative health care that can diagnose problems early and most easily and effectively treat them.

This recalls an analogy I learned while taking a public health class called the upstream/downstream analogy. It was used to encourage political advocacy in health care: If people are falling into the river, it is not beneficial to solely concentrate downstream and pull victims out from the river one by one. It is imperative to also concentrate upstream and try to see why people are falling into the river in the first place. I like to think of it every time I remind myself why I feel it is important to be active advocates to create better pathways and services in our communities so that a better approach can be made to prevent people from falling into the river.

Eva Montes

Eva Montes

Since giving back to my community was something I not only felt was essential or an obligation but also brought fulfillment to my life, I regularly volunteered at the Salvation Army, Gospel Mission, and Casa de Modesto Retirement home throughout high school.

I was volunteering at the Salvation Army my sophomore year of high school when a little Hispanic girl came up to me and asked if she could have my shoes as a birthday present for her mother.  Immediately, I felt hot tears roll down my eyes as I looked at the poor little girl and noticed that she had only one arm. Fortunately, I had some sandals in my car and so I was able to grant the little girl’s wishes.

I look back at this moment because I can only imagine how much medical attention the little girl was lacking at that time due to the inability of her family to afford health care. Throughout the many times I served breakfast at that Salvation Army in the mornings, I saw many people who were physically impaired and needed health care, if not, better or adequate health care. It was this unforgettable moment along with others that instilled my desire to pursue a career in medicine.

My first introduction to working at a hospital was the following year as I volunteered at Doctors Medical Center. Volunteering allowed me to see how important diversity is in the medical field since 50% of the hospital’s patients were Hispanic. I personally saw how patients felt frustrated when they were not being understood by their health care providers and it would not be long afterwards when this issue was experienced by my grandfather as well.


In 2003, my grandfather was hospitalized at St. Joseph’s hospital in Stockton, Ca. after on-going dialysis for his diabetes. One day, my grandfather got frustrated after trying to tell his nurse in Spanish that he needed to use the restroom. After realizing that she didn’t understand him, he attempted to walk to the restroom himself. He fell and as a result, fractured his hip. Five days later, on April 7th, he passed away. If only there were more Spanish-speaking nurses on staff, perhaps my grandfather would not have felt so frustrated. Perhaps he would not have fallen. Perhaps.

There is such a great demand for minorities in the health field and I want to make that difference. When people are in need of medical attention, it becomes personal and they want to go where they feel comfortable.

However, access to health care is a huge issue. For example, I saw how my grandfather relied on transportation to go to his dialysis appointments. Dial-a-Ride was extremely helpful in that sense but even that was unreliable since the driver would sometimes not wait for my grandfather. One time after his he was left at the dialysis center and was sitting outside waiting for hours until a worker noticed him. He was then hospitalized since he was very weak and dehydrated.

Also, last summer I was fortunate to be able to help administer TB vaccinations to the residents at a migrant camp located a few hours north from Seattle, Washington. I also helped read their blood pressures, and advised children on their dental hygiene. It was a heart-felt experience and it became another eye-opener to the importance of access to health care.

I am interested in working particularly with disadvantaged communities because I believe in the aspiration in making health care more accessible. This is why I believe preventative and primary medicine are important in our communities. It is important to bridge the gaps between the patients and health care providers when delivering health care and I believe that if I can somehow be a part of that, then these positive relationships will carry on to changing the faces of health. This is how I hope to contribute to the world.

My view on the current systems in place to provide human services, such as housing assistance, mental health, health care, etc. are very much needed in our communities but feel that the current systems are inadequate. Many people, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, are placed in institutions in a restrictive setting and often times against their choice. There can be many reasons for their placement but they are isolated and are never informed that they could remain a part of their communities. I feel that this continues today because it is easier to place people in an institution than to set up the services needed to allow the individual to remain independent in their community.

For example, affordable housing is almost negligible today. And for those with disabilities, making proper accommodations in their own homes is extremely costly. A roll in shower can cost thousands of dollars. In addition, there is a shortage of attendants to provide skilled care in people’s homes. The pay is minimal and no benefits are given. I strongly agree that there is a great lack of governmental funding to set up these services and I feel it is due to a lack of will. I do not understand how the government expects every citizen to be an active member in their communities and country when they are not given the resources to do so.

Lastly, comprehensive health care is an essential human need, therefore all people must have access to basic health care services but in our country, access to these services is too often regulated by health care insurance. The uninsured are faced with restricted access to health care and even those who rely on government-sponsored insurance have limited choices of health care providers. I feel there is a growing need for collaboration among health care providers, specialists, and the local hospitals within our communities. I believe in the philosophy that health care is a Basic Human Right and I hope to learn how I can help instill that philosophy in our health care system and I plan to take what I learn wherever I go in the future and continue instilling that philosophy into my future career.

Copyright 2007, StraightForwardMedia.com. All rights reserved.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jan-Michael Ahmour B. Nahos August 24, 2010 at 10:53 am

Must say I believe in your aspiration. You’re relentless desire to pursue career in science (health) is essential tool for a successful candidate amidst the many wishes for one limited slot. You did it quite relatively new.

However, I’m to say in aghast that a country like yours an state perhaps still has inadequacy pertaining to basic social health care. This should not be blamed for the lack of governmental actions or responses or even programs for one totally. Though I hate the feeling being part of the administrative bureaucratic system which both our governments are sharing, nonetheless it has to have an avenue to address these things.

Perhaps, it’s your culture that elderly specially those deserted by time and chance has to endure pragmatically.

You appear to be hispanic, as such you inherited in you the tradition of a close knit family. As well as extended families which pure americans never had. That’s the primary reason you only saw one side of the coin.

I too felt you. I am as well hispanized as you but I did not have an american form of education. You probably are one fortunate woman I must say. Please do not throw the culture in you.

Reply

Leave a Comment

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Previous post:

Next post: