A vast majority of our student volunteers come to Children’s to gain experience for future health care careers. Japs Lee is one such volunteer; she was an active participant in our program from 1997-2004.
Japs was kind enough to take the time to write the following summary of her experiences here at Children’s and beyond:
“I am a second-generation Hmong female who grew up practicing animism and traditional Hmong folk medicine. Because of this, I grew up experiencing barriers to both western and Hmong medical practices, which was the foundation to why I wanted to become a physician.
As the typical pre-med student, I studied hard, received good grades, and was involved in research and extracurricular activities. I then applied to US medical schools (two different years) and did not get in. At that time, I thought that my chance of becoming a physician was over, and I was uncertain of what I would do. Should I apply a third time? What if I got denied again? Should I just find a job?
Acting upon several different pieces of advice, I looked into foreign medical schools and decided to go to Ross University in Dominica (an island in the Caribbean). This was an underserved country where there were only 2 hospitals and few medical technologies; the majority of healthcare was provided by medical students. It was a fantastic experience that brought on challenges, as physical exams and listening to patient’s stories were important in making diagnoses since technology was limited. After medical school, I returned to the United States where I finished my clerkships in WI.
I am currently completing my residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI, after which I will go into primary care in Monroe, WI. My journey to become a physician had some unexpected turns; however, it has helped me develop experiences to become a well-rounded physician. Without continued persistence and support from my friends, my family, and Children’s Hospital, my dreams would not have been possible.”
Thank you, Japs, for your graciousness & willingness to share your pre-medical experiences with our current volunteer team! We wish you the best in your career as a doctor!