Transitioning from forensic science to medical school

I am a married mother of two wonderful daughters. For over seven years, I was employed by the State of Mississippi as a forensic scientist specializing in controlled substance identification. Although that career promised opportunities for professional advancement, the opportunities necessary for personal growth within that profession were limited. In order to fill that need, I sought service and volunteer opportunities in my community. One of the most influential organizations in which I became involved was La Leche League International. I began regularly attending monthly meetings when I was expecting my first child in 2010 and have remained actively involved ever since. I became an accredited La Leche League leader in December 2013. I truly enjoy interacting with mothers and babies and helping them to meet their breastfeeding goals. 

 

Upon entry into college in the fall of 1996, I initially declared my major as biological sciences with a focus in pre-professional medicine. However, my academic career was not without challenges and I took a non-traditional path to earn my baccalaureate. I finally earned my Bachelor of Science degree in forensic chemistry from the University of Mississippi in December 2007. Knowing that acceptance into medical school is highly competitive and believing my less than perfect academic record would prevent me from being accepted, I shelved my dream of one day becoming a physician and chose a career as a forensic scientist. Over time, however, my desire to become a primary care physician resurfaced and I could no longer be satisfied in my professional life unless I pursued this goal. In addition, I felt it was my responsibility as a mother to set an example for my daughters to continuously strive for personal growth and to not lose sight of the achievements they want for themselves.

 

In July 2015, I left my career as a forensic scientist and returned to academia. I earned my Master of Science in biomedical sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in May 2017. I am now applying to medical school and hope to impress upon the admissions committee that I will bring great depth and breadth to their next medical school class.

 

Vital and health statistics in the United States show a negative correlation between socioeconomic status and population health and infant mortality, with apparent healthcare disparities for racial and ethnic minorities and for those who reside in rural areas. There are many contributing factors to the staggering statistics in the United States, but one way these rates can be improved is by addressing physician-patient relationships and strengthening communication between the two.

 

Through conversations with people I have met through my affiliation with La Leche League, I realized there is a frequent breakdown in communication between patient and healthcare provider, and sometimes between provider and current protocols. Many patients leave their physicians’ offices with unanswered questions or, even worse, feeling as though they do not have a choice in the direction of their own healthcare or the healthcare of their families. I have also been made aware of situations where patients have left their physicians’ offices having received antiquated breastfeeding management and parenting advice not supported in the current literature. Such misinformation can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship and may carry long-term health consequences.

 

When I was a forensic scientist, I recognized the importance of staying current in my field and utilizing evidence-based practices in the scope of my discipline. I know I can apply these skills in the medical field, as well. I believe I can positively impact the lives of others by improving their healthcare experiences. I believe my education, life experience, employment history, community service, and dedication to helping others strengthen my application to medical school. Although I once shelved my dream of becoming a physician, I now plan to make this a reality.