Salmahn Alam (1st Quarter, 2007)

by Josh Barsch on August 20, 2010

1st Quarter, 2007
Science Scholarship Winner
Salmahn Alam

“I recently graduated from SUNY Binghamton University with a BA in Biology and a minor in Arabic. My university years were the best years of my life. Here, I was able to pursue all of my interests and make great friends. I enjoyed participating in the Harpur’s Ferry Ambulance Squad and the American Cancer Society as well as the Muslim Student Association. Starting August 2007, I will be attending Buffalo medical school.”

A Portion of Salmahn’s Winning Essay:

The best doctors are valiant knights in disguise. Scalpel and stethoscope in their hands, they boldly ride toward diseases, conquer new territories, save people from distress and bring smiles into this world. Likewise, I want to rescue people through medicine by melding together my words, knowledge, compassion, and experiences into a single sword, and charge toward the illnesses of the world as a physician.

I will not be content with just being an ordinary doctor, making a six figure salary. I want to work in the underprivileged areas of the United States as well as other third world countries that lack the proper health care. I strongly believe that my chosen field of study in medicine and my other world of experiences have and will prepare me for the path that I have chosen.

Having already been accepted into the Early Assurance Program at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, I look forward to continuing in my quest by completing my double major in Arabic and Biology at SUNY Binghamton University in May 2007 and then starting medical school in August 2007.

In my opinion, it is important for a successful physician to thoroughly understand the disease and sickness of the patient, as well as understand him as a person. My major in biology will provide me with the proper background knowledge to become such a doctor.


Recently, I was involved in a research group, in which I had the opportunity to study the brain and investigate practical ways to inhibit L-DOPA induced dyskinesia, a debilitating motor disorder associated with chronic L-DOPA treatment in Parkinson’s disease patients. This experience has shown me a brilliant side of medicine: that as an investigator. Applying the scientific method to medicine has greatly motivated and expanded the scope of my knowledge. Research has allowed me to be more skeptical, forced me to approach scientific inquiry from a variety of different angles and has enabled me to understand the inner workings of biology. These invaluable tools have and will add an extra badge to my armor as a future physician.

It has been my experiences in life that have fueled my desire to use the medical field as the means to make a difference in peoples lives. My own experiences as well as those of my family members in Pakistan have fueled my passion to enter the medical field.

It was in Pakistan where I had my first bitter taste of medical suffering. I saw children crying on the ground in pain and agony in Karachi. These children had no hope for the future as they lived in houses made of sticks and mud. These children were malnourished, dressed in tattered rags and had their ribs bulging out of their bodies.

One scene I vividly remember from years ago was of an individual with his entire face burned. These children would come up to people and ask for some cents so that they could buy one days worth of ration. The large city of Karachi could not provide the proper health care that these poor individuals required. Sadly, the problem doesn’t stop with the poor in these countries. It extends to the middle class population as well, since numerous deaths occur due to the lack of proper health care in these countries. Enter a hospital and one will encounter corrupt doctors and will be lucky to see an ultrasound machine.

Even my own brother was not immune to this problem in Pakistan when he was diagnosed with Typhoid. My brother went from one doctor to another, without a single doctor being able to do anything for him. Having seen those problems in Pakistan, I am sure that the situation in Pakistan and other 3rd world countries will be 10 times worse in the next 20 years due to the rise in population.

These scenes fueled my desire to not just be a doctor with mechanic like precision but rather a doctor that uses ones inner emotions in a positive way. Too many times, medical students are instructed to not allow their emotions to get in the way of their profession. But, I beg to differ. Emotion is that necessary component that opens up one’s heart.

These emotions are what drive me to want to work with the underprivileged citizens of the Bronx, NY, the underprivileged citizen of Karachi, Pakistan and the underprivileged citizens of other countries and states. There is a real shortage of competent doctors in those areas. Hence, I would like to work fulltime in an underprivileged area of the United States, and then during my time off I would like to go to the various countries to serve the needy population. Furthermore, I would be active politically by encouraging the US to provide the financial capital to the third world countries so that citizens in these countries can receive the proper health care.

It is through my working as well as volunteer experiences that I believe that I am prepared to handle the responsibilities that come with my goals and aspirations. My job as a patient transporter in the Radiology Department at Lourdes Hospital has equipped me with the communications skills that a modern-day physician must possess. I have had to communicate with people who were deaf, who were too young to understand verbal speech, and with patients who could not speak English. Hence, I now understand that communication is not always done by speech alone but at times must be done by showing a smile or giving the patient a pat on the back. I have had to comfort the family of a girl who was rushed to the hospital with possible cranial damage. I have had to comfort an elderly lady too afraid to get a CT scan. These experiences have allowed me to grow as a person. I hope to take the lessons learned through these experiences with me in my future endeavors.

Copyright 2007, StraightForwardMedia.com. All rights reserved.

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