My name is Esther, I was brought up in NYC. I graduated with an Honors in Biology/minor in Psychology from York College – the City University of New York and an MD degree from Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba.
I am a part of a large group of fellow Unmatched American Citizens. There are over 15,000 U.S. citizen, ECFMG certified medical graduates who went unmatched going back to the year 2000 when the ratio switched to fewer residency positions than doctor applicants. It is unethical to have citizens from other countries replace American citizen doctors in these residency positions. American doctors need residency program training to become licensed and are currently forced to sit on the sidelines during this COVID crisis. There are simply not enough residency training slots and no alternate pathway to compensate for this issue currently. There should be some alternate pathway to help during this pandemic in which we have a higher mortality rate higher than any other developed nation in the world. The USA needs a lot more doctors than are being trained. I think apprenticeships, creating more residency spots or some other alternate pathway needs to be created. Talent is being squandered and talented doctors are being prevented from finishing their training after they have accrued medical school loans.
H1B abuse is systemic in the industry both within and outside medicine. While preparing for my USMLE exams, I attended a one-month pharmacovigilance training program offered by an Indian recruiting company (globalpharmatek.com ). They were training Indian citizens with H1-B visas. After the training, only H1- B visa holders were recruited for jobs with pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, while myself and a few other Indian Americans who were Caribbean medical grads were denied jobs at these pharmaceutical companies. I later found out these Indian visa holders had to sign contracts committing half of their hourly wages to the Indian recruiting company. American citizens were not tied to such a contract because it is considered an illegal practice.
Residency programs are run by foreign program directors who appear to be handing out the majority of these J-1 visas for residency spots to people from their home countries eg. India and Pakistan while Americans are being sidelined. This has to stop. We need American medical grads and American International medical grads to be prioritized in the residency matching system.
There are many private practice physicians that are open to training medical school graduates, who want to expand residency programs to private practice. The current residency programs, especially for Family practice often focus on hospital-based medicine which is not primary care.
I am one of those unmatched ECFMG certified with over $170,000 in medical school loans which have gone to collections and are negatively impacting my credit.
I have completed my clinical training in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia in all the required and elective specialties. Since graduation, I have worked in Cardiology and Psych as a medical assistant. I have taught EKGs, Phlebotomy, Pharmacology tech, Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology classes at colleges in Georgia and NY. I have a Missouri Assistant Physician license and have been working with Missouri Disaster relief treating COVID patients along with volunteering at free clinics in underserved areas of Missouri and Oneida NY. I have also done Psych research and submitted a paper for publication.
I am willing to go to any underserved area of the United States for my residency training in Primary care/Family medicine. I am well versed in the American health care system and have excellent physician-patient communication skills. I cannot see myself practicing medicine in any country other than this country that I call home.
Finally, Mr. President, I urge you to please put a halt to the J1 and H1-B visa, federal taxpayers, American residency programs, especially for rural GME Family Medicine programs.
Edited by CA 10/19/20
My Personal statement
As a 12-year-old, I was fascinated and enthralled when I was presented with the opportunity to assist my father, a Veterinarian, in removing a large tumor from the uterus of a mixed-breed canine. I remember my focus and precision as I clamped the blood vessels and sutured. I also assisted with the artificial insemination of cows and horses. I spent most of my young life as my father’s veterinary assistant and assisted him while he diagnosed and treated various health conditions of horses, cows, dogs, cats, parrots, and other exotic animals.
One day while my father was away on vacation, a client frantically called looking for him, her puppy had eaten poison and was frothing from the mouth. I recalled my dad always advising people to give their pets glucose water or the white of an egg if their animals were poisoned. Her puppy survived, she came to see me and thanked me; she handed me $20, I was thrilled. For a 10-year-old, it was a life-defining moment that I will never forget.
My veterinary experience led me to my pursuit of biological sciences as I entered high school and college. During my studies, I realized how similar human and animal physiologies are. Drawing on these parallels and juxtaposing them to all my experiences working with my father; I realized that I wanted to use my knowledge to enrich and improve the lives of fellow human beings through devotion to medicine.
In 2019, I completed an externship in emergency medicine at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. I was expected to function on the same clinical and academic schedule of responsibilities as a resident. We treated patients with diabetic ketoacidosis, did incisions and drainage of infected wounds, sutured lacerations in head trauma, treated aspiration pneumonia in the elderly, and coordinated supportive treatment for patients with withdrawal symptoms from heroin and cocaine abuse. This fast-paced environment taught me stamina, and endurance, and reinforced how much I loved it all.
I have stayed up to date on my clinical skills by teaching at Mohawk Valley Community College, Emmanuel College, and the NY Institute of Medical Careers. My classes consisted of teaching EKGs, Pharmacology, Phlebotomy, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology. I was enriched by these experiences and feel that my teaching experience will add to the team value in residency. I taught Pharmacy technicians at the New York Institute of Medical Careers in an effort to teach and stay clinically strong. I recall a time a student came to me for advice as he recently migrated to the US and was a smoker. He wanted to quit smoking but felt the smoking helped with his depression. He was experiencing culture shock and described his hardships with settling in this country, finding a job, etc. I recommended he see a primary care physician and ask them about the medication Bupropion, to address the dual benefit of smoking cessation and depression. Later he told me he visited a physician who prescribed him bupropion which lifted his depression and helped his smoking habit. I was always able to apply my phlebotomy and EKG knowledge during my clinicals, often impressing my cardiology preceptors. I diagnosed one of my patients with Premature Atrial Contractions. When I inquired more about her symptoms, she admitted that she was experiencing palpitations during times of emotional stress and she had the tendency to drink lots of coffee. I advised her to cut down on the caffeine intake and strive to reduce her daily stress. As a result, she experienced reduced palpitations. Another one of my patients was overweight, on blood pressure medication, and complaining of syncope. I took her blood pressure and found it to be very low. After inquiring more about her diet, I found she was drinking grapefruit juice for weight loss. I explained the connection between grapefruit juice and interference with prescription medicine metabolism.
In these last couple of years, I have gained valuable clinical experience, knowledge, and perseverance to achieve my goals. I was fortunate to spend time in the ICU with my father before he went to be with the Lord. He was intubated with severe unstable CHF from aspiration pneumonia which occurred because of a seizure. One night after the respirator was removed and my father was conscious, I detected Atrial fibrillation on his monitor and alerted the ICU nurse, who relayed the message to the Cardiologist on call. The next morning, my father’s medical team was thankful and impressed by my acumen. The ICU doctor recommended to my brother a physician at the hospital, that they should consider me for their residency program. I could see the gleam in my father’s eyes.
Since obtaining my Assistant Physician license in Missouri I have been dividing my time volunteering at the Mary Rose free clinic in Oneida, NY, and the free clinic at New Springs Community Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri as an Assistant Physician where I am able to see patients and write prescriptions under the supervision of a physician. I have been working with Disaster Relief (DMAT) in Missouri, taking care of COVID-positive patients at Veterans’ nursing homes and testing for COVID. Currently, I am working with Dr. B. Flanagan, an associate PD, and Professor of Family medicine as a research assistant for a study on Depression in Medical students applying for the Match during COVID which we have submitted for publication. This year I completed an observership in Psychiatry at Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center. I conducted patient interviews with those that had bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and addictions. It was rewarding to help each patient through those very difficult experiences teaching me both empathy and compassion.
My entire upbringing served to train me to be empathetic to patients’ needs and support their healing. I have a strong work ethic and I have the patience and perseverance to see that my patient’s needs are met with the knowledge and skills that I’ve strived to attain. I seek a residency position in Family Medicine since this is a field in which physicians are most needed. It is my desire to provide to the most underserved areas of the United States. I intend to make a difference in these areas. These people motivate me to become the best version of myself that is possible in order to serve them. I hope that you will give me strong consideration for your residency program so that I may accomplish these goals and more.