April 28, 2008


This is a letter that I've written to apply for a scholarship, something I rarely do because I hardly ever feel qualified... but it came to me in a flash of inspiration this morning and it really reflects my thoughts on a lot of different things that have been going on lately in my life.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These three rights are often quoted, but the definition of “Life” isn’t as fully explored as the idea of “Freedom.” When I reflect on it, the connection to medical ethics becomes apparent: Beauchamp and Childress’ bioethical principles of Beneficence, Nonmaleficence, Autonomy and Distributive Justice echo the same theme. I shared my ideas through an Ethics Workshop that I organized this year for the Medical Student Mentorship Program (MSMP.) The idea of “basic human rights” is a fundamental notion – treat each other with kindness, respect and love. These are very deep topics perhaps, but they are entirely relevant to why I’ve chosen to go into medicine and serve others.

The right to Life equates to a right to be healthy, in my opinion. I’ll admit, I do not know if this was the intent of our founding fathers. However in this day and age, we have the knowledge and the power to help everyone in this respect! It frustrates me how something so obvious to me could be stymied by the short-sightedness of some political parties and insurance companies. The money problems of rising health care costs cannot be solved by putting power into the hands of private insurance companies who focus solely on their bottom line and how they can cut costs and deny coverage. Only by having a huge pot and nationwide coordination may we have a basic, free healthcare plan available to everyone. Until that day, some disadvantaged populations will continue to suffer and they will never get the same opportunities as everyone else. This is why I joined the Hawaii Homeless Outreach and Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project where I am currently a second-year clinic manager. I volunteer at the Kaka’ako and Waianae homeless shelters where we provide free outpatient healthcare for the residents. Instead of blithely accepting an unjust system, I have sought out opportunities to be a part of something that could catalyze change and help people recognize their right to Life.

I am committed to helping the people of the Pacific region and I dream of big things for our future. As a small state with diverse cultures and strong communities, Hawaii has the unique opportunity to show the rest of the nation what Aloha really means and how we can truly care for all people. I want to be a part of that and inspire others to help as well. I feel that my current work in MSMP and HOME are only the beginning of these good things.

I hope it doesn't come off as overly pompous, cheesy or insincere because it is the truth as I see it. One of my pet peeves is when people declare something "BS" -- to me, it is only if YOU think it is and it isn't if you think it isn't. Depends on whether you have a cynical or an optimistic eye of the beholder.


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