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I want a PA student's opinion.

Please help me out. It's just a roughdraft. Before I completely edit it I need to shorten it a lot. Please let me know what you think can be cut out. Pointno ut any major grammar mistakes, etc. Thanks again in advance.


My parents are bilingual elementary educators in a predominantly Spanish-speaking, poor underprivileged community of East Los Angeles. Their comprehension of the importance of education during early childhood, the most vulnerable stage in life, motivated them to pursue careers in education. As Spanish speakers with significant cultural awareness, they felt a responsibility for teaching for the underserved population. My parents’ effort for their school and the surrounding community does not stop when the school day ends. As a result of their wholehearted commitment, my entire family naturally participates in their efforts and I have been involved in this community for my entire life. For twenty five years they have worked tirelessly to alleviate disparities in education. Despite their unyielding attempts to improve the lives of their students and their families beyond their education, I quickly realized their inability to directly improve their health. </SPAN>

I first recognized the inequalities in healthcare at a very young age when I could not grasp my concerned mother’s explanation about why one of her sick students could not afford to receive medical care. Over the years I was further exposed to the health issues of the community. I noticed how malnutrition, unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity contributed to the obesity epidemic. I witnessed how students’ poor health and lack of medical care resulted in constant absences from school and greatly affected their learning. My parents were often the first to notice that certain students should undergo neuro-developmental, speech, or hearing screenings. They also often reported possible incidences of sexual or physical abuse. These observations allowed me to comprehend the detrimental impact poor healthcare has on a child’s development, ability to learn, and consequently their success in life. Students often return to visit my parents, some even graduating from college. These students are a testament to my parents’ efforts and have influenced me to seek a career that is both gratifying and necessary to make a difference in people’s lives. </SPAN>

These events allowed me to recognize the impact of health during early childhood, especially on their development and ability to learn and sparked my passion for medicine. My passion for medicine and understanding of the importance of healthcare has motivated me to pursue a career in medicine. My recent experiences have motivated me to pursue a career as a physician assistant. As a native Spanish speaker with cultural competency and effective communication skills I have also adopted a conviction to serve underrepresented communities. As a Physician Assistant I would seek to alleviate these health disparities with the same compassion and dedication as my parents do for education.</SPAN>


When I began college I was highly enthusiastic about my goal to improve the health of the underserved</SPAN>

population, yet unsure of what role I would play to accomplish that. I pursued a degree in Biological Sciences in order to attain a strong foundation for my future studies in medicine. However, I felt unmotivated with my studies at such a large and competitive university. I immediately funneled most of my energy into various projects that were aligned with the insight I had gained from my experiences from my parents’ elementary school community. I became a clinical research assistant at the University XXXXX Child Development Center as it coupled my passion for medicine and children. This position introduced me to the clinical environment and allowed me to gain significant knowledge concerning attention and learning issues that can affect a child’s development. I conducted DISC-IV interviews on child patients with ADHD and their parents for National Institute of Mental Health sponsored clinical research studies. I also assisted in conducting developmental screenings and physical assessments which included measuring weight, height, head circumference, and blood pressure. I began to cultivate essential communication skills that allowed me to effectively act as a liaison between the providers, patients, and their parents. Eventually, I conducted my own independent research project where I investigated the misuse of ADHD medication by undergraduate students on our campus. I presented my findings at various symposiums and was awarded “Excellence” by the Biological Sciences Honors Committee resulting in the publication of my scientific paper in the XXXX Undergraduate Journal of Research. My research continues to be expanded upon by current undergraduates.</SPAN>

My dedication to the underserved population inspired me to volunteer as a skills therapist for the XXXX preschool program (XXXX Initiative for the Development of Attention and Readiness). I worked in primarily Spanish speaking preschools in underserved communities of Orange County. I was trained in the early detection of learning disorders, developmental delays, and attention disorders.</SPAN>

Using behavior modification techniques I delivered interventions to children who were at risk for</SPAN>

attention and learning disorders in order to optimize their social, cognitive and brain development. I further enhanced my communication skills through this program as I learned not only to interact with children, but effectively report to their parents and behavior specialists. The behavior specialists and other volunteers were often dependent on me for interpretation. My experiences in behavior therapy led me to be trained as a behavior therapist for XXX, an adolescent male with Autism. In addition to in-home therapy, I was hired as a special education instructional assistant at his middle school in order to continue his therapy at school in accordance to his IEP. Eventually, I assisted in transitioning him from middle school to high school.</SPAN>


After graduation, I sought an experience more directly related to my future goals. I wanted to directly help more people in a larger capacity. I enrolled in the domestic Peace Corps and committed one year of my life as a full time AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). I was selected to work for the Orange County chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. My year of service allowed me to explore a variety of careers in health care and exposed me to various facets of public health and community medicine. I coordinated numerous continuing medical education events including a three day conference in the fall entitled Current Advances in Pediatrics and was enthralled by the information presented. I also assisted in the management of our programs, especially our obesity prevention and intervention project. I served as the liaison between registered dieticians, physicians, students, and their parents and often relied on my ability to speak Spanish for communication. I also acted as a medical assistant acquiring height, weight, waist circumference, BMI, and blood pressure measurements of thousands of children ages 4-18 in the poorest schools of Orange County. I helped the pediatricians conduct physicals and make referrals for children in which high blood pressure, obesity, acanthosis nigricans, or other physical issues were found. The AAP also provided me with direct patient contact through the administration of developmental screenings (MCHAT, PEDS, ASQ). I primarily facilitated communication between the parents and the providers. </SPAN>

In addition, my role at the AAP involved health education, especially with the Injury and Violence Prevention Program where I assisted in the development and distribution of educational materials. Furthermore, I made contributions to our Mental Health Initiative, School Readiness Nurse Program, and Vaccine Compliance Project. My service with the AAP reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in medicine and it was there that I was introduced to the role of the physician assistant. I learned that they are an integral component of urban and rural medicine and their emphasis on patient advocacy, patient contact, and education aligned well with my experiences, strengths, and goals. After my year of service, I was hired part time by CA4AAP so I could continue to do work there while taking my prerequisite courses. With my enthusiasm now focused I earned A’s in all courses despite working and volunteering. I also shadowed several physician assistants and their autonomy and patient contact confirmed my decision. After completing my course requirements I was anxious to get more direct patient experience in a clinical setting. I began a volunteer internship with Kaiser Permanente Hospital XXXX Emergency Department. I also started an internship under a PA at XXXXXX Free Clinic in Orange where I am continuing to gain incredible understanding as a PA shadow and medical assistant. This opportunity has allowed me to serve a primarily Spanish speaking urban community of Orange County.</SPAN>

My Spanish fluency, cultural competence, and communication skills are a defining aspect of my personality that I know both my colleagues and patients will benefit from. As a physician assistant I am looking forward to utilizing these strengths to provide underserved communities with efficient healthcare on a personal level. </SPAN>

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Yikes, it is long. You've done a lot tho, and have a lot to say ... I'd suggest tightening it up on your own first, and then asking for editing help.


You're a good writer, but some of it gets a bit 'rambly'. Try and keep the pertinents only ... you can always expand in your interviews, if asked for more details. Remember too that Admissions Committees will already see the places you've worked, listed in the work experience sections of CASPA, so you can probably leave the names out in an effort to save space. Meaning, instead of saying 'I worked at such and such place and learned this and that', you can write more along the lines of, 'In my work and volunteer experience, I learned this and that' ... that's a gross simplification on my part, but hopefully you get the idea of what I'm meaning.


A good place to start would probably be to better decide on your number of paragraphs, and then concentrate on making them more concise and succinct per the idea you want to convey in each one.


I'm not a PA student, I'm a PA, but I hope you'll still consider my advice ;)

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Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate your kind and honest opinion. This is exactly the advice I was looking for as I don't quite know what the Admissions Committees look for and you have first hand experience. I will work on removing extraneous content and all of the titles (that will save a lot of room). You are very right that they have all the details in my application...it makes me nervous to leave it out, but it has to be done. Oh and thanks for the compliments...

Take care...

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