Julia Amstutz’19

My interest in Project Healthcare was sparked from the moment I learned about it from Bowdoin’s Director of Health Professions Advising. I discovered my passion for global health and public health systems in high school, and I have been working toward a career in public health ever since. While I currently believe that medical school is the best path to optimize my impact as a future health ambassador, I am not completely sure whether I should pursue medical school or some version of a Master’s in Public Health. This experience will clarify immediately if medical school is the right direction for me because I will be immersed in the clinical practices of emergency medicine in a way that no other program offers for undergraduates, and will be working to help an underserved, underinsured, and often ignored population similar to those I hope to help in the future with as a public health ambassador.

The Project Healthcare program is an exceptional opportunity that will allow me to gain invaluable hands-on experience working in a dynamic health environment. As the largest city in the U.S., NYC has an incredible diversity of cases, learning opportunities, and medical challenges. Working within such a fast-paced and high-powered environment will force me out of my comfort zone and help me to grow professionally and personally to an unprecedented level. This immersive health care experience will affirm my decision to pursue a career in global or public health and provide me with first-hand medical experiences like the ambulance ride-along, connections with mentors and peers in NYC, weekly educational lectures about important health issues, and the opportunity to engage with the community during the community health fair. Additionally, with Project Healthcare I have the rare opportunity to use my proficiency in Arabic, a unique skill that the program is eager to utilize in the Bellevue’s Emergency Department. I am thrilled to have the chance to take the language that I’ve spent years learning and practicing in solely academic situations and put it to good use in a clinical environment by helping physicians and patients communicate and improving patients’ experiences at Bellevue.

Working with such complicated and personalized issues, like those within a local public health system, requires a holistic understanding of how a health system operates, and what is needed and expected of a health professional. I came to appreciate the immense complexities of public health during my gap year, when I interned in the national headquarters of Timmy Global Health and traveled to the Amazonian Basin in Ecuador to help administer mobile health clinics. The act of physically participating in public health work greatly enhanced my understanding of how important public health is on a global scale, and taught me that the majority of work in global health is either primary care, the administrative creation of health systems, or emergency medicine, like Project Healthcare. Out of those three aspects of global health, I have the least experience in emergency medicine, and to be selected as one of only fifty Project Healthcare participants is both an honor and an exceptional chance to gain experience in emergency medicine.