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Ukrainian Doctor, Personal Statement for Fellowship Position in Otolaryngology/ENT.

I graduated from the prestigious Odessa State Medical University in 2000. I completed a Residency in Otolaryngology and then practised as a consultant and trainer in this speciality at a large regional hospital in the Ukraine, I was appointed head of the E.N.T. department in 2010 and led a staff of forty until 2013 when I moved to Canada.

My particular interests are in HIV/AIDS, cancers, inherited metabolic diseases and mental disorders.  I am interested in investigating the extent and relative effects of lifestyle, diet, addictive behaviour and heritable/cultural factors in a variety of diseases. I am also am fascinated by the potential for genome research in improving health and treatment outcomes. I have a long-standing interest in the provision of effective, properly targeted preventative health education which arose during my clinical work during which I saw considerable time and resources being devoted to preventable conditions. 

I performed exceptionally academically during my Secondary School education. I was awarded a gold medal for maximum possible grades in all subjects and was a winner of multiple regional contests in Mathematics and Biology. This academic ability and potential meant that many career paths were open to me but I passionately wanted to ‘make a difference’ in the world rather than merely to ‘make a living’ and so decided to pursue medicine. It is a decision that I have never regretted and have found great satisfaction in my medical career to date. My academic ability was reflected in the grades obtained in Medical School including an ‘excellent’ grade in the Epidemiology course and I developed a particular interest in the specialty at that point in my studies.

My rapid promotions in the hospital were made, I understand, in recognition of outstanding commitment, potential and expertise in my specialty. It was necessary for me to acquire and develop teaching and leadership skills over a short period of time.  I decided to closely consider the qualities of the best leaders and teachers in my own academic and professional careers and to try to emulate them.  I became aware that many of the skills required to lead and teach overlap, both calling for an approachable manner, the ability to inspire and enthuse, highly developed observational skills, clarity in communication, the ability to plan and to set achievable goals and to measure success in reaching them and, very importantly, creating a team spirit in which people help and encourage each other and share their knowledge and skills generously. Learning to lead effectively is a lifetime’s work and is a life skill that I determined to acquire and hone. I am sure that some of these skills are directly transferable to research work.

My research experience is not extensive and did not form part of the Medical School curriculum. However, because of an interest in research and an intention to undertake research in the future, I undertook some extra-curricular work.  With a group of three other students, I worked on the topic of ‘Potential Years of Life Lost in Odessa, 1994-1998: Causes and Effects’, a topic which directly relates to the specialty that I now seek to pursue. I presented our findings at a student conference which were also published in a local scientific journal winning first prize in the Social Medicine Section.  My work also involved the application of surveillance mechanisms for nosocomial infections and administration of infection control. I also have significant experience of dealing with cases resistant to therapy, which increased my interest in disease prevention as opposed to dealing with negative outcomes.

I greatly enjoyed the, admittedly limited, research that I have undertaken but understand that not everyone is a natural researcher. I recognize that research calls for specific skills and characteristics that are not common. An effective researcher is determined, patient, has the ability to think creatively and originally, takes a highly analytical approach to data and carefully frames the right questions in order to obtain usable information. I also understand that effective team work and cross-disciplinary cooperation is essential to good outcomes.  I believe that I possess the required characteristics to a degree and am determined to develop them to a very high standard. My love of Mathematics and my natural skill in the subject will also provide, I believe, a ‘head start’ in undertaking useful research.

Since arriving in Canada, I have acquired fluency in English. After a difficult start, I managed to achieve inclusion on the Dean’s List for academic achievement in the ‘English for Academic Purposes’ program. This, I believe, indicates that I am a person who pursues skills and knowledge with determination and exceptional diligence. I have also acquired basic fluency in French and intend to improve this over time. I am also fully fluent in Ukrainian and Russian. Since 2015, I have worked as a Physician Assistant in a Family Medicine Clinic, this has provided me with an understanding of the Canadian medical environment and culture. I have very much enjoyed the work, particularly that relating to preventative health education. I have also kept abreast of recent advances by reading medical journals and texts and I have completed the ‘Career Transition Program for International Medical Doctors and Health Professionals’.

I have undertaken voluntary work both in the Ukraine and in Canada.  I worked at a Boarding School for children with hearing loss in the Ukraine, matching patients to treatments and undertaking statistical collection and analysis. I am currently a Patient Unit Volunteer in the Saint Vincent Hospital at Ottawa, Canada, befriending patients and providing basic assistance to nursing staff. I consider voluntary work to be an obligation for those as fortunate as I have been in life and have find great satisfaction in such activity.

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