Since starting the Gateway Exploration Program, I have been shadowing an OB/GYN at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital for the past week and a half with Dr. Caseida. We have been seeing very interesting patients and cases during the time that I have been there, and I have learned a lot in just one week. In my opinion, the OB/GYN is very interesting because you can work with adults and babies too. For example, I learned about the baby’s heartbeat, what beat counts it should be in between, what they should be measuring, etc. I learned about the connection between the baby and the mother and how you can detect if something is wrong with the baby’s health just by drawing blood from the mother.
Also in the OB/GYN department, I learned about what happens to women’s bodies, and what you need to prepare to look for as you get older. For example, once you turn 40, you are going to need to do a mammogram. You get a mammogram to see if you have cancer in your breast tissue. As a woman, once you turn 40-45 your chances of getting breast cancer become much higher. Also, PAP smears and PET scans are necessary. PAP smears are needed to test if you have and precancerous cells in the cervix. I learned that one way you can tell if you have any precancerous cells is that it turns white when you put the vinegar on it.
Lastly, I learned what can happen to a mother after giving birth to their first child. You can get a lot of complications like hemorrhoids, excessive bleeding after delivery, breast problems, etc. Hemorrhoids are swollen or inflamed blood vessels in the anal area.
My name is Samrawit Bulcha, and I am very happy to get the chance to tell you about my experience being a Gateway Exploration Program scholar. I was very scared when I started the program but now I have started learning a lot of new things, most importantly being how to be more open and communicative with other people. This was great for me because before I came to this program I was a very shy person and I didn’t have much confidence in myself. This program has really helped me learn how to have confidence and to just trust myself. Especially the elevator pitch workshop which helped me to speak with people more openly. Another activity I did was the scavenger hunt challenge which involved walking around campus to find hidden clues. This helped me to be more social with people and have a better understanding about a lot of things dealing with Georgetown. In this program, I learned many new things I had never heard before in my life like the term “radiology”. I did not know what it meant but after I started shadowing with Dr. Maurer and Dr. Levy all of that changed. They helped me to understand more about tools like the X-Ray, CT scan, and MRI. The office work part of the program has helped me to know more about what office work looks like and has also helped me to be on task and become familiar with computers and printers. My favorite thing about this program is that they prepare us for our future by teaching us a lot of important things like professionalism, respect, and time management. Because of this program, I know more about kidney disease, heart disease, and cancer. I have never had an opportunity to meet professional doctors before this program. For my research, I am working on kidney disease which is one of the causes of death in my home country of Ethiopia. I have never done research before but thanks to my coaches’ support, I am confident I can do a good job!
What have I learned from being in Georgetown’s Gateway Exploration Program? What is there not to learn?! Just in the first week, I was able to network and become friends with a group of people that can help me strive to continue to achieve my aspirations of becoming a doctor. I have learned a lot around the topics of professionalism, time management, information about different departments in Georgetown’s hospital, what health disparities in the medical field, are and what we can do to raise awareness of these disparities. Along the way, we met our medical school mentors who have gone through what we will soon experience and are there to not only help with our own research on health disparities, but to also be a source of medical information and answer any questions along the way that I may have. In the second week, we have begun to shadow the physicians that have been assigned and dive more into the life of medicine. Being in the department of radiology and observing what doctors do I have discovered a new passion while viewing an X-ray of the human pelvis area. Seeing the human skeleton in person and the complications that can accompany it was amazing to view, making it even harder for me to select a field to be in. To see first person the bones underneath one’s skin, tissue, and muscles without having to create any incision is rather astounding. Coexisting in the field of radiology are many ways of viewing the body that include: MRIs, X-Rays, CT scans, and Ultrasounds. While watching the process for X-rays, I found it interesting that you can identify bones, fat, tissue, muscle, gas, and metal in X-rays based off the different densities in the imaging. However, in ultrasounds, you can only see the muscles, tissue, fat, and liquids in the body. Watching live procedures, I was able to learn first-hand the process of diagnosis; discovering what is wrong, and how to collect tissue samples from organs that they think may be infected. I love having speciality physicians like Dr. Maurer and Levy in Radiology motivating me and I love being in a program where everyone has the same drive and aspirations to become medical professionals that I do. It really empowers me to continue the path even if it gets hard because I know I will not be alone! I cannot wait to discover more!
— Davon Franks