Michael Charles – 2012-2013 Recipient
Tell me about yourself and your current experience at the UIC College of Medicine
One of the many reasons I wanted to train at UIC is the proximity to my family. Yet over the past 3 and half years, I have encountered and worked with various amazing mentors who provided me the room to grow as a clinician. Along with the science of medicine, I learned to practice the art through my involvement in programs such as the Patient-Centered Medicine, and the immigration and refugee health concentration of the Service Learning Program.
How did you decide to go into the field of Medicine?
Since an early age, I developed a strong interest in the sciences. My religious and familial upbringing informed my views on how best to use my opportunities. Over time, I realized that a career medicine offers the ideal setting to live out the values of humanism and intellection fulfillment.
What inspired you to help others Globally?
I believe in healthcare as a human right. Having spent so much of my life in Haiti, I witnessed firsthand the level of need for quality and affordable medical care. As recent globalization has facilitated sharing of commodities, resources, and most importantly ideas, I perceive the growing body of global health knowledge as a productive avenue for the support of human rights.
Why did you select this destination?
I worked with Dr. Andrew Dykens for a couple of years in various extracurricular activities, such as the Service Learning Program. After the taking the Global Health selective of the Family Medicine clerkship curriculum, I expressed my interest in exploring matters of International Health. As he is leading a few projects abroad, he offered to have me join the team working in Senegal.
How did this experience from the Erickson Explorers Award impact your life/influence you?
This elective was a tremendous learning experience. Firstly, it’s one thing to read about healthcare in low-resource settings, but experiencing the actual difficulties on the ground adds deeper layer of respect.