Friday, April 28, 2017


April Hours: 12
Total Semester Hours: 30
2016-2017 Academic year total: 67.5

This semester, I culminated my volunteer experience at Anna's Place and the medical mission. As the final weeks of program approached in March, students became noticeably more restless and anxious for the upcoming summer break. Though on paper, it seems like ages ago when I was elementary school aged and anxious for the summer months, I remember distinctly exactly how they feel. I'm so glad that through the Schweitzer Fellowship here in New Orleans, I'll get to continue to be apart of the program with the kids throughout the summer months and beyond.

I’m continuously amazed by the students in the program, and so grateful for my experience working at St. Anna’s. It’s a Christian church with its own tenets and religious doctrine to adhere to, but that has never been a hindrance to its own practice of welcoming any and everyone with open arms. During clinic hours at the medical mission, we have patients from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, different socioeconomic classes, unconventional sexual and gender identities – but when you walk through the doors of the clinic, we’re taught that the only thing that matters to us as volunteers is that these are people, and it is our jobs to do everything within our means to provide the best care possible. This is the attitude I hope to carry with me throughout my life – yes as a physician, but more importantly, just as a human. If you listen to or watch the news, it’s easy to believe that it’s impossible to be different and yet get along, care for each other, and have empathy for one another. I tend to think that we as people make the process of harmony, or at least peaceful coexistence, more complicated than it really is, and spending so much time serving at St. Anna’s is always a reminder of this, and an experience that I will never forget.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


February Hours: 8.5
Total semester Hours: 18

Mardi Gras has officially concluded, and I can say with confidence that being in New Orleans to celebrate Carnival and Mardi Gras for the first time has been one of the most unique and enriching experiences of my life thus far.  From participating in the parades over the past weeks, to researching and learning more about some of the historical Krewes that have been an integral part of this city’s fiber for centuries, to walking in the streets with Mardi Gras Indians, this Carnival season for me personally has represented a celebration of life and health, family, and friendships - vital things that we easily take for granted. As the season has concluded, I feel immense gratitude – for New Orleans, for Tulane, and for this program. I will never forget!

We concluded our last block exam this month, and while on Mardi Gras break, I plan to begin preparations for our shelf exam. It’s amazing how much information we’ve absorbed over the course of a few months, and I’m looking forward to reinforcing what we’ve learned over the next few weeks. At Anna’s Place this month, the students had tons of fun over the past few weeks decorating their costumes for the Red Bean Parade that they were invited to participate in. Mardi Gras season truly is one of the most important holidays for every resident of the city, especially for children. At the Medical Mission, I’ve continued to gain invaluable experience working one-on-one with our visitors/patients, and as time has passed, I continue to feel more and more comfortable and relaxed while taking blood pressures and blood glucose, and recommending healthy lifestyle choices. I’m actually getting ready to volunteer for my shift at the clinic as I write!

Friday, January 27, 2017


January hours: 9.5

It’s difficult to fathom how fast January has flown by! Our holiday break was very relaxing, and though I enjoyed my time away, I was grateful to be able to spend my first New Years Eve here in New Orleans with my family. It was truly an unforgettable experience of live music and dancing in the rain as we brought in the new year.

In school, we wasted no time diving into new material. We began the semester with the Neurology/CNS block, which has been my favorite block yet of the semester. I have a strong interest in studying and treating behavioral health issues and illnesses as a physician, and New Orleans has a great need for these types of services, as many believe that available mental health services post-Katrina have not fully recovered to pre-Katrina levels. However, even pre-Katrina levels were not adequate to meet the city’s mental health needs, as is the case in many American urban cities.

This week was our first week of the semester at both Anna’s Place NOLA and St. Anna’s Medical Mission, and it was very busy week of volunteering. On Monday, we did student and parent orientation, along with homework assistance and our first dance class. I will continue teaching my two health and nutrition classes on Mondays beginning in February. On Tuesday, we took the students on a field trip to the New Orleans Museum of Art at City Park. This was my second time visiting the museum, but I was able to view and appreciate the art from a new perspective through the lens of the students. Their interpretation of the author’s intent behind certain colors, shapes, and designs prompted me to view the art in a different way. On Wednesday, it was my first day volunteering at the clinic in the new year. I was the sole volunteer for the day, so I was assigned to complete both patient on-take and registration along with conducting the actual blood pressure and glucose exam. It was a fascinating day at the clinic, because I was able to apply what we were learning in the classroom to real-life (i.e. a patient’s abnormally high blood pressure was explained by use of prescribed use of bupropion). Normally, we would have liked to have more than one volunteer at the clinic, but I really appreciated the one-on-one time I was able to spend with the patients, and I hope I continue to get opportunities like this in the future.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


November: 10 hours
Community Service Totals: 37.5 hours

November has certainly flown by faster than I expected. We’ve just returned from Thanksgiving break and have jumped right into the Molecular and Cellular Biology portion of the GI/Hepatic block. My experience at Anna’s Place this month was a ton of fun for both me and the students. The students have a Christmas holiday dance performance coming up this weekend that they’ve been preparing for throughout the semester, and they cannot wait to show off their skills. These past few weeks, we’ve used our class sessions to integrate some of the movements that they’ve learned in dance class with the knowledge of the muscle systems that we’ve learned about in class. I’ve noticed that the students really appreciate any lesson plan that involves movement and integration of the arts, whether it be music or drawing, so I try to incorporate that as much as possible into my lesson plans. In the next semester, I’d like to continue this trend and apply it to activities such as cooking (as we continue to study nutrition and healthy eating), and maybe even some hands-on science experiments. I’ve spoken to one of my colleagues in the lab I work in, and he expressed interest in volunteering to do a demonstration that he says has previously been a hit for young students in the past – should be exciting!

We only have one more exam in mid-December before we all head home again for the holidays. Though this semester has flown by, I feel much more confident and comfortable as a student in the program than I did when we first began. I have a solid preparation routine for exams and work well with my classmates in preparation for the exams, and I look forward to the next semester as I hope that it will be a smooth continuation of the process!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Happy Halloween!

October has come and gone, and this month has been my most productive month yet for community service.  I am now fully emerged into my “teaching” rotation at Anna’s Place. My first day as an instructor was so much fun and also very challenging. For the nutrition segment of my first class, we learned about calcium and bones. One of the things that I quickly realized is that I could not approach my class in the traditional way which I had been trained. On Mondays, the children have just returned to school from the weekend and are full of the energy for the week ahead – my supervisor told me that there is a marked difference in behavior on days like Thursdays and Fridays (in preparation for the weekend) compared to Mondays. So on my first day of teaching, the students completely lost interest in my “lecture” style of teaching, and I thus lost control of the classroom. There were students crawling under tables, chasing each other, etc., and I left feeling disappointed in myself that I had wasted the students’ time from actually taking something beneficial away from the class. But I was determined not to allow this to happen again, so over the next week I researched different lesson plans to keep very young children (my youngest student is 5 years old) interested in learning during after school programs, and the most common theme that I found was to simply keep them moving! So during my next class, we learned about muscles, and I thought it would be fun to pair the students into groups, assign them a muscle, and allow them to create a non-traditional exercise for that muscle. They loved it! The creativity they showed was great to see – it was actually hilarious. I paired myself with one of the students, and we came up with an all-in-one exercise for our quads, glutes, and triceps.

More importantly, my experience this month has reminded me of the intricacies of human interaction, and also had me reflecting on the intricacies of doctor-patient care...particularly as it relates to what we’ve learned thus far in the program. In my training for the after school program, I was instructed to feel free to automatically dismiss students from the classroom at the first signs of trouble or distraction. This sounded great in theory, but once confronted with actual students, I quickly assessed that doing this – when the students and I are bound together for at minimum 10 week – would probably negate any potential chance of developing trust and respect for the remainder of the program. At the same time, allowing unruly behavior in the classroom does a huge disservice to everyone, especially other students. So, therein lies the conflict between what you train and prepare for/what you study/what you believe to be true…and reality. And as I’ve delved deeper and deeper into pharmacology and the inherent patient care that it entails, you realize that this is something you will always have to confront and face head-on as a doctor. There are so many scenarios that you’re prepared to treat in traditional ways, but realize that due to specific context, it may require nontraditional care. There are so many drugs that may have immense therapeutic benefit – but may also bring serious side effects (i.e. Aliskiren – I’m studying for my renal block exam as we speak!), and as a doctor, you have to make the best decision of treatment for your patient. In my classroom, in every word that I speak or action that I take, I hope I convey to my students that I have their best interest in mind. As a doctor, I believe this same principle is the key to navigating these scenarios. I’m confident that carrying this with me and applying it as I go, in any situation, can lead to success.

Community Service Totals: 27.5 hours
October: 11 hours