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TMDSAS Personal Characteristics Essay Sample

Prompt: Learning from others is enhanced in educational settings that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Please describe your personal characteristics (background, talents, skills, etc.) or experiences that would add to the educational experience of others. (all applicants)

Many barriers to patient care are rooted in a lack of access, but my experience with barriers in health care comes from a lack of understanding and in some cases a lack of empathy. As the hearing child of deaf parents, I have been the designated go-between for countless situations. For every doctor’s appointment or emergency room trip, I was the informal interpreter. Some adults found speaking to a child about health care matters a bit strange, but it was easier than crossing the communication barrier with my parents. In our small town, there were few people who spoke sign language, and even fewer who understood the struggles and frustration we experienced daily.

People view being deaf as a disability, but in truth my parents struggle only with communicating with hearing individuals, and then it is usually only in complex situations. I have spoken to enough doctors who ignored, dismissed, and simply couldn’t be bothered to try and understand me and my parents to know that medicine has a problem with access for people with disabilities and a lack of helpful solutions.

I think I could bring a needed point of view to the discussion. I could help my classmates and peers understand that it’s not just about physical access to care, but accessibility. Imagine if my parents had access to an interpreter at the hospital. Or better yet, doctors and nurses who spoke some sign language? I feel I could bring a unique voice and a topic of discussion that is often overlooked. Most people don’t consider what it is truly like to live each day with a disability of some kind, because they don’t have any such restrictions. If I could enhance my classmates’ experience and broaden their perspectives by sharing my experiences and my parents’, I think we could start to expect more empathy, more understanding and a more fruitful discussion around accessibility in medicine.

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