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Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Dr. Rushabe Malde - Columbia University Reflections

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Dr. Rushabh Malde, currently attending Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursuing his Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Columbia University Reflections

Columbia University Reflections
By Dr. Rushabh Malde

In my past essays, I have spoken about my experiences while working in the healthcare sector and also shared with you the life changing moment which convinced me to pursue a career in public health. I have also shared my journey with you since my Dental college days to my work as a Hospital Administrator to now when I am currently studying at Columbia University, New York pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health. Today, I would like to share about my time at Columbia University and how it has opened my eyes to so many unknown aspects of public health.

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Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award Winner - Malerie Pratt

Student Scholarship Award Winner

Giva is very pleased to congratulate Malerie Pratt, 2015 recipient of Giva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award!

Ms. Pratt is enrolled at Oregon Health and Science University. Upon receiving the award, Ms. Pratt responded, "Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity of receiving the Giva Scholarship. My goal is to become a doctor and work in under-served communities in rural and inner city areas, both in the United States and in developing countries. I am currently a first year medical student at Oregon Health and Science University, where I am actively pursuing my dreams of becoming a physician to help those in need. Thank you again for this incredible opportunity."

"Giva is proud to support students like Ms. Pratt who pursue their dreams and strive tirelessly to change the world through their hard work and dedication. Her personal vision of helping others will certainly inspire the next generation of exceptional and selfless individuals. Congratulations, Malerie," said Ron Avignone, Founder of Giva.

For more information on Giva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award and other scholarships, please visit our scholarships page.

Congratulations again to Malerie Pratt!

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Dr. Rushabe Malde - Truly Making a Long-Term Difference

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Dr. Rushabh Malde, currently attending Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursuing his Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Planting the Seed of Long-term Serving Benefits

Truly Making a Long-Term Difference
By Dr. Rushabh Malde

If you have read my earlier essay, you will know that I worked as a Hospital Administrative intern after finishing my bachelor's degree. I would like to share with you today some immensely satisfying experiences I have had while working in this position. These experiences not only provided me with joy but also reinforced my belief to pursue a career in healthcare.

While working as an intern at a hospital in Mumbai, I was extremely happy with my career. I was learning a lot of interesting stuff everyday as well as given the ability to make my voice heard and make changes to improve the quality of care afforded to the patients. During my time there, we introduced various patient centric programs like free text messaging services, which informed patients when they would need to come in to meet their doctors. This reduced the patient waiting time at our hospital by almost 75%, significantly improving patient satisfaction. Another initiative introduced by my team was to offer counseling services for patients' families, which helped them deal with stress, and showed them how to move forward to deal with chronic debilitating diseases. These initiatives aligned very well with my goal to positively affect people's lives through healthcare, and I realized this is what I wanted to do permanently.

In spite of the above-mentioned initiatives being very successful, there is one idea which is particularly close to my heart. Pediatric primary healthcare is only a myth in most developing or under developed countries. Apart from offering the basic necessary vaccines, no specialized primary care was available to the poor or lower middle class infants and their families. Any government schemes designed for children were centered on government or aided schools. These schemes were rarely ever implemented to achieve the desired outcomes. More than half the children in most countries go to other non-governmental and non-aided schools and fail to avail themselves of any of these primary healthcare schemes. This leads to an entire generation of a nation failing to achieve the required health standards from childhood and leaving a huge void to fill. Taking into consideration these factors, our team decided to offer annual primary pediatric health plans to children belonging to this category. This plan saw unprecedented success in the local community.

Instead of offering these plans to parents for their children, we decided to offer these services straight to the unaided schools. The response we received from the schools was tremendous. We offered annual subscription packages at very low costs using economy of scale to make the program sustainable. Economy of scale here means that we planned to register large numbers of students to offer the services at the lowest cost possible. The primary healthcare program included a variety of services such as pediatric care, dental care, psychological counseling, nutritional counseling, immunization and vaccines, eye-care and health education. Most of these services were offered at the participating school itself to make it more convenient for the students. In addition, the program Included organized health education camps for teachers and parents.

This program became hugely successful and thousands of children were covered under it. It allowed me to make a very meaningful change in the society and be a part of something of which I will always be proud. This initiative made me realize how simple ideas like these in the healthcare sector can bring about a very long lasting and profound effect. It has planted within me a seed for healthcare entrepreneurship, and I have vowed to myself to start a self-sustaining social venture after completing my studies that brings a similar change in the society.

To end my essay, I would like to appeal to anyone who has similar interest to affect millions of people positively to take up healthcare or public health as a career. This industry allows you to work with the sharpest minds and the kindest souls. This is how you can make a difference. You cannot ask for anything more from life, can you?

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Dr. Rushabe Malde - Pursuing A Dream

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Dr. Rushabh Malde, currently attending Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursuing his Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Business Dreams & Vision

Pursuing A Dream
By Dr. Rushabh Malde

I would like to begin by introducing myself. My name is Dr. Rushabh Malde. I am 25 years old and I am currently studying Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) at Columbia University in New York City. This is the first among a series of essays in which I would like to share some of my views, beliefs, past experiences and most importantly my dreams with all of you. In this essay I wanted to write about my educational journey and what made me give up a lucrative life as a dentist to pursue a career in Public Health.

I was born into a middle class family in the Indian City of Mumbai. My parents have always worked hard to make ends meet and tried to provide me with the best they could. Growing up in the financial capital of India, I was always enamored by the life of the rich and powerful around me. I used to look up to all of the successful men from varied backgrounds, but there was always one profession which instantly pulled me towards it. That profession was being a doctor. More than money or the status they enjoyed in the society, it was the respect they commanded from everyone that made me fall in love with it. Every individual, whether rich or poor, showed humility toward doctors and their service to the society. It was then, a 10 year old me, that I decided I wanted to become a doctor when I grew up. It was the beginning of my dream. I distinctly remember sharing my dream with my parents at that young age and promising them I would make them proud one day. I started paying more attention to studies and won many academic awards throughout my school life. After two years of hard work during my pre-medical years, I finally secured admission in Bachelors of Dental Surgery at Rural Dental College (RDC), Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) situated at Loni, India. And this is where my life changed...

I was living my dream at RDC, studying to ultimately earn my doctors degree. I had made some amazing friends and finally made my parents proud. I could see myself five years down the line working as a dentist and achieving that elusive respect I always sought. It was in my third year at RDC when I was introduced to the subject of Public Health. As a part of the curriculum, we were supposed to go on dental camps in the surrounding rural areas where we provided free preventive dental care. It was during that first rural dental camp that made me question what I really wanted in my life. We were in a small hamlet going from house to house offering free dental checkups. It was a hot day, and around noon I entered this dimly lit small clay hut. I saw an old woman in her 60s playing with her grandson. I asked her if I could giver her a free dental check up and refer her to our main hospital if she required any further treatment. She refused downright without even giving it a single thought. At that moment, I saw a huge ulcerating wound on her feet very much similar to the specimen pictures for cancer tumors we were shown in our surgery classes. On asking her about the wound and why she did not get it treated, her reply startled me. She told me that she had no money to treat her injury and could not afford to go to any hospital for the same. She further added that it was such an irony that I was offering her free dental check up when she might not even survive the next month. I was shocked. I withdrew into my shell that day. I thought to myself, if this was the state of healthcare in one of the fastest developing countries in the world, what is the medical fraternity I was so proud being a part of doing about it. I realized I did not want to earn respect and make money when people go through such extreme suffering without anyone even caring about them.

It dawned on me that I could offer much more to the community than serving as a dentist. It made me question my dream. I started researching for summer internship opportunities where I could use my medical background to help the community on a much wider scale. I started working as a hospital administrative intern trying to learn more about the healthcare industry. After my experiences working in this industry, I realized that the necessary infrastructure required to serve the population was already in place. The need of the hour was to streamline and manage the already existing network to maximize the services available to the target community. I quickly realized in order to achieve this I would have to study the intricacies of finance, economics, strategic planning, accounting and managerial and organizational behavior. This desire and new-found vision helped me decide to pursue a career in Healthcare Administration. After applying to some of the best universities in the world, I was overwhelmed to be accepted in the MHA program at Columbia University. I hope to learn from the best in the healthcare industry and apply my knowledge back in India to serve the greater community needs. I know one day I will...

I am sure you must have noticed that I have excessively used the word "dream" throughout my essay. I have done that because I hope each and every one of you will nurse a dream. I hope you will keep on pursuing your dream, fight for it against all odds, and as you grow you will develop a vision for yourself, for your career, for what you want to be remembered for. I agree I am still at a very nascent stage in the process of achieving my vision but I hope I can inspire at least a few more individuals to work in the healthcare industry and work for public health development. I thank you for taking out some time to read my essay. I also hope you come back to read the remaining essays.

Giva Student Scholarship & Worldwide Community Ambassador Winner Essay Series: Dr. Rushabh Malde

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is the winning essay from Dr. Rushabh Malde, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. The Essay question was, "How will you use your talents and education to make the world a better place for future generations? What are your career and personal goals and why?" We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service. Congratulations to Dr. Malde!

Dr. Rushabh Malde Winning Student Scholarship Essay

Giva Scholarship Winning Essay
By Dr. Rushabh Malde

I am honored to be awarded a Giva Scholarship and the honor of now being a Worldwide Community Ambassador for Giva.  This scholarship grant is aimed at assisting students further their education as well as expand their social responsibility and community service footprint in the world.  After I was notified that I won the scholarship, I was told that the Giva founder wanted to speak with me. Ron Avignone, Giva Founder, took a strong interest in my journey from India to Columbia University in the USA. He was interested in learning about the defining moments in my life and what was my motivation for a career in public service.  Mr. Avignone explained the importance that service to the local community plays in his life and at Giva. Giva is a company that has ideas, solutions and practical ways to make an impact on the world. Thanks and gratitude to Ron Avignone and the Community Volunteerism Team at Giva for having this vision and commitment. 

The following is my essay:

My name is Dr. Rushabh Malde, and I want to be remembered for my benevolence and discerned leadership in alleviating the plight of the suffering, and this is my motto in life. Like every child, I was asked the proverbial question, “What do you want to become when you grow up?” and the only answer I ever gave was, "I want to become a doctor." I was deeply touched by the kind of contribution and service rendered by this profession to the society. I was sure that this was the only thing I wanted to do when I grew up. They seemed larger than life, not in the same way as men who run companies or nations, but as someone who could provide comfort, quell fears, touch a life and resolve a crisis. They were able to touch human lives every day and spread happiness to make this world a better place to live in. Now with my convinced dream in place and sheer determination to put into action, I embarked on my life path with diligence and guidance to achieve that.

My first life changing moment came while studying as a 3rd year dental student on a Rural Dental Camp organized by the department of public health dentistry of my dental college. I was shocked by the lack of awareness about the medical care and the below par health and living conditions when I went to the rural areas to conduct these camps. On my consequent trips to such villages, my belief to be able to change the health care system and try to make a change for the society only got reinforced. I started undertaking research online to find out why even in a fast-developing country like India Healthcare Administration was still a naive topic. In spite of having all the resources, government reforms, public healthcare schemes and hospital setup, still the health care system was in shambles. Soon I comprehended that the problem did not lie with the intent of government schemes or the public but with the administration of the already existing healthcare setups. It is then that I deeply thought of equipping myself with the necessary skills to improvise this precarious situation prevailing in our developing world. My concrete thought to study “MASTER’s in HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION” paved way through this challenging situation.

After coming back, I gave up the opportunities to pursue a lucrative career in dentistry and took up internship as a hospital administrator at “DHANWANTRY” hospital. I feel extremely lucky to have gained the exposure I have during this job and the understanding of the healthcare system after working in various departments in the hospital set-up. I have been working there as a honorary intern for almost two years now, and my faith that healthcare management, if properly utilized, can bring a massive change in the society has only strengthened convincing me to pursue a degree in healthcare administration.

The existing Healthcare education in India and most of the developing countries has failed to understand the shortcomings of our existing hospital system and need to be revamped to address this pressing issue. I realized that preeminent universities in the USA like University of COLUMBIA and JOHN’S HOPKINS University provide excellent education in the healthcare sector and are ranked among the top-most universities in the world. The eminent faculty and the individualized nature of the Master’s programs there will definitely help me understand and imbibe the structure and organization of the healthcare sector in developed countries. I believe that this deep understanding of the efficient and stable healthcare system combined with the firsthand experience during the internship and post-graduation job in a hospital setup will help me achieve my dream of being able to bring about a progressive change in the healthcare system of developing or under-developed nations by working there. I understand that this dream will take a lot of efforts and participation by many other members, but I sincerely believe that if we put in unified efforts, the healthcare system can achieve this goal surely and improve the lives of entire population by bringing to them the best medical facilities at the most affordable of prices in an organized manner. I feel that inculcating Information Technology (IT) in the healthcare setup and utilizing it to better manage and plan the distribution of the available facilities will increase the output manifold in the near future.

I feel that, by applying this international knowledge and experience gained while studying this degree, I can try to correct some of the fundamental flaws in healthcare system and contribute and give back to the community in beneficial way. I also believe that a healthy society is the very foundation of a strong development agenda. By improving the health of the younger generation and providing them with proper care, we can provide the society with the strong working force required to take the human civilization forward. In the short term, I want to work at hospitals and implement the various managerial changes which can improve the local healthcare performance and in turn lead to a better society. My long term career goal is to head an efficient hospital in a developing nation wherein I apply the most advanced healthcare administrative ideas and provide an inspiration to other similar hospitals to follow suit which will benefit the people as well as the world at a very basic level. I request GIVA INC. to share my dream, guide me to complete this journey of mine and help me contribute to the society.

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Shila Vardell - Interview With an Inspiring Fellow Volunteer

Volunteer & Take Action

Shila Vardell, Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award Winner, presents an inspiring interview with a young fellow volunteer.

Q: How long have you been volunteering?

A: It has been about 2 years now.

Q: What made you decide to volunteer to help me feed and cloth the homeless?

A: At the time, I was hanging out with the wrong kind of people. I was 13 and my friends were influencing me to drink and do drugs with them. Not only that, but they were also trying to get me to join a gang they were involved in. I felt like they were my only real friends, and I could not find an escape. I went from getting all "A"s in school to getting "D"s and "F"s. My parents were extremely disappointed in me, and that is what hurt the most. I knew that I needed to make changes in my life, or I was going to end up on the wrong path. I thought that maybe helping you and being around the right people would help me make that change.

Q: Have you gotten involved in any other type of volunteering?

A: Yes, I recently started going to church, and they have a lot of volunteering options. They offer free meals to the homeless during certain times of the year, and I have been helping with that. Basically, we make meals at the church, and homeless people come in and we serve them. It is hard during this time of year because it is so cold and rainy, so I think homeless people have a hard time getting to us. I have expressed this to the church, and they are considering taking the food to the people. I think I could really help my church with this part because I know where all of the homeless stay since you and I have been traveling to them for so long.

Q: Do you think you will continue to volunteer?

A: Yes, volunteering has really changed my life. I have met so many great people that I would never have had the chance to meet if I continued to hang out with the people I was hanging out with. Volunteering also gives me something to do with my free time. Instead of going out and doing things I should not be doing, I spend my time being helpful. I know that my help is appreciated, so I enjoy it.

Q: Have you influenced anyone to volunteer?

A: Yes, I have a sister who is one year younger than me, and she was falling into the same trap that I was. She was hanging out with the wrong people and getting into trouble at school. I told her that I knew so many people in gangs and only two things come out of that kind of life: death or jail. She knew it too, but when you do not have many friends, you just want to have people around. Unfortunately for us, the neighborhood we live in is full of gang activity, so most of the people around us are in gangs. The only real time I am out of that environment is when I am volunteering. One day I finally got her to come with me to feed the homeless, and she really liked it. Being around inspirational people is a really good feeling for us.

Q: Where do you think you would be if you never started volunteering?

A: I would definitely be in a gang. When you hang out with the people that I was hanging out with, that is your only choice. Now that I am out of that scene, I can see how it all works. Gang members befriend young people who do not have many friends. They get you to be on their side and get really close to you, almost like family. Next thing you know, you are in a gang and there is no way out.

Q: Do you see yourself starting your own volunteering organization in the future?

A: Honestly, I think when I am in college or maybe a little older I might actually do something like that. I want to help people that same way that I was helped. I have a passion for animals, so I think that I will start some kind of animal rescue center and recruit volunteers to help me.


There are countless ways and means to volunteer. We at Giva encourage everyone to think about how they would like to make a difference in their world. Even one small act can make a huge difference in somebody's life.

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Joseph Lee - Interview with Dr. Paul Kent

Give & Receive Community Service

Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Ambassador Award winner, Joseph Lee, interviews one of his heroes for social responsibility, Dr. Paul Kent:

Interview with Dr. Paul Kent About Serving Others
By Joseph Lee

Why do you think it is important that we serve others?

People always think they are too busy or tired to serve or applaud me for serving in the midst of a busy schedule. I don't see it that way. I actually NEED to serve to survive. When I serve I get rejuvenated. When I serve my energy levels refill. It's like I'm on empty and I go on a service trip or service project and that tank gets refilled so that I am able to continue with the daily grind. So it's actually the opposite way of thinking for me, I serve so that I can be a better father, husband, doctor and every other hat that I wear. If you think of it that way, your perspective on service completely changes. And service does not mean going to Haiti or Rwanda, but are you helping your neighbor, your colleague, your friend? That is all service.

How do you believe privilege plays into service?

Look at me, I believe I basically have every type of societal privilege one person can have, some of which are not even under my control. With that said, I think it is even more important that I serve as an advocate and voice for groups that are still marginalized and discriminated against in our society. And while some may ask why I am advocating for groups that I have no affinity with, the answer is simple. As fellow humans beings, we are all entitled to basic human rights. Why is it that some people and groups in this country get to celebrate it, while others are cast aside to the fringes. That makes no sense to me and something we must change. We must ALL do this!

What are some suggestions you have for going about serving others?

Expand yourself. Don't be so comfortable with the role you play now or the position you are in now. It's such experiences that can really challenge you and develop you in ways you didn't think were possible.

Fight for every child, fight for every life. Remember that every child you care for and treat is someone's heart and soul. Remember that your patient is someone's son or daughter. Such a lesson didn't make complete sense until I had children of my own. When that happened my view and perception of what our patients and the families of our patients experience completely began to change. It made my job harder in the sense that I now truly understand the sorrow of what it would be like to lose a child. At the same time, it made my resolve to do my best to save every life or provide a more comfortable life for all my patients that much stronger.

Surround yourself with people that are fighting for the same mission. They are out there. Seek them out. It is not always easy to commit yourself to service and change in our society. I feel like there are fewer and fewer people who actually care and take time to care for others. And so, it can often get overwhelming or disheartening. That's why it's so important to surround yourself who are also committing their life to service. People who you respect. In that way you can rejuvenate your spirit and learn new ways to give back. They are out there, you just have to actively seek them out.

2014 Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award Winner

Student Scholarship Award Winner

Giva is very pleased to congratulate Rushabh Malde, 2014 recipient of Giva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award.

Mr. Malde is currently attending Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursuing his Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration. Upon being notified of his award, Mr. Malde said, "I am elated to be awarded the Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award. I am really thankful for Giva to consider me worthy enough to be a recipient of this prestigious award. I am very happy with the appreciation you have for my vision. Thank you again."

"Unfortunately, too many people today strive for just being 'very good' at what they do. Giva's vision is to create 'lift' to the individual vision and goals of these exceptional students, and we are very proud to help them realize these goals and assist them in their tangible efforts to change the world! With this scholarship, Giva's goal is to encourage people to set an 'exceptional' standard for themselves. The world needs a standard of 'exceptional' to meet the vexing global challenges that we face today. Our congratulations go out to Mr. Malde, and we wish him much continued success," said Ron Avignone, Founder of Giva.

For more information about GIva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award, please visit our student scholarships page.

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Joseph Lee - Who Is a Good Doctor?

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Joseph Lee, Rush Medical College. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays, and we hope they will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Stethoscope & Hearts for Good Doctors

Who is a "Good" Doctor?
By Joseph Lee

Had you asked me the same question one year ago, my answer would have been vastly different to the one I will give today. In the summer of 2012, with my first year of medical school completed, I embarked upon my last official summer vacation with two things in mind: a basketball tournament in Dallas and one in Atlanta. My closest friends and I had been playing in tournaments for the past 10 summers, and it was a sacred bond forged together in the name of competition. However, two weeks before our first tournament, I became instantly and overwhelmingly short of breath. Having been born to Korean immigrant parents, I was raised to utilize the hospital in emergency cases only, and I knew this was such a case. A few scans later, doctors discovered numerous pulmonary emboli (PE), caused by a subclavian deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and just like that, I was lying in a bed of a major hospital for a life threatening condition.

Fast forward a few months, and I am lying in a similar bed to treat the underlying cause of the sublclavian DVT: a first rib removal. There is little that can adequately prepare someone physically, emotionally or spiritually to undergo surgery; and my thoughts continued to race in the days following. In addition to the expected physical pain, isolation, fear and frustration were a few of the emotions I experienced in the four day ordeal. The procedure went according to plan thanks to a skilled surgeon and his team, but the attributes that made the doctor "good" went far beyond his ability to operate.

"Wow. I'm glad you are feeling better" and "I can't believe you went through that" are common reactions people have when they see the scars on my upper chest. Quite frankly, the past nine months have been difficult, literally full of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all, I have been able to maintain my positivity and gratitude knowing that I have gained the invaluable experience of being a patient and discovering the vulnerability and trust that patients give their doctors. Patients indulge information to doctors that they may have never told anyone in their life and in doing so, place a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of a doctor. Many patients will not understand the mechanism of disease behind their condition and anticipate that the doctor will explain to them and their family why it is that they are feeling the way they are and ultimately heal them. And that is precisely what my surgeon understood: the privilege of being able to care for patients and the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. And as I awoke to the care of my worried parents, the first thing they wanted to discuss was the details of the procedure that was methodically and patiently explained to them by my "good" doctor.

In study after study, patients have reported dissatisfaction with their medical care, not because of lack of knowledge or health outcome, but because their doctors did not show enough warmth in the encounter or listen to the patient's questions and concerns. There are few times where a patient and their loved ones are more vulnerable and in need of compassion than when dealing with a hospitalization. And for some doctors, a patient may be another item on a checklist, but that patient is someone's mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. My "good" doctor understood this and would often say "If you were my son..." when discussing treatment options, reflecting on the type of care he would want for his family and treating me similarly. Such ideals are rooted in love and compassion for patients, not as clients in the health care system, but as fellow human beings striving to make something of themselves and the world around them (I).

Unfortunately, the ordeal of living with a chronic illness or undergoing a major operation extends beyond the confines of the hospital. Whether it is creditors harassing patients for medical bills, prescriptions that need to be refilled, or lifestyle modifications that need to be made, the health care experience doesn't end when a patient walks out of the hospital doors. It often takes merely a minute, as in the case of the "good" doctor who told me that as a student I could apply to get the procedure financially covered by the hospital. Such foresight in anticipating financial concerns and directing me on the next steps to be taken provided relief in the surmounting stress.

Lastly, the "good" doctor understands that as our patients are human, so are we. This means we will make mistakes, some of which can result in life-threatening consequences. With that said, the "good" doctor practices humility and honesty, apologizing and sharing as much information with patients as possible. Although no one strives to make mistakes, they will happen, and how one reacts to them is a distinguishing feature of the "good" doctor (II).

Of all the qualities I tried to explain in what makes a "good" doctor, there was no emphasis on skill and knowledge. And while being able to fulfill the duties of making the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans is expected, the intangibles of love, compassion, foresight and honesty is what makes a doctor, "good". I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a "good" doctor.


  1. Evans, B. J., Kiellerup, F. D., Stanley, R. O., Burrows, G. D. and Sweet, B. (1987), A communication skills programme for increasing patients' satisfaction with general practice consultations. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 60:373-37.
  2. Hingorani, M., Wong T., Vafidis, G. (1999) Patients' and doctors' attitudes to amount of information given after unintended injury during treatment: cross sectional, questionnaire survey. British Medical Journal, 318(7184):640-1.

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Shila Vardell - How To Jump Start a Volunteer Effort

Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Ambassador Award winner, Shila Vardell, shares her experience on how to jump start a volunteer effort.

How to Jump Start a Volunteer Effort
By Shila Vardell

Today's world is very hectic. People are constantly on the go with work, school, children and errands. It often seems like you have no free time to spend volunteering. Volunteering isn't always about the amount of hours you put in. It is more about the difference you make and the lives you change. When you make the decision to volunteer, you need to put your mind to it. It is easy to let time pass and never get around to it, but it is just as easy to get out and help others.

The first step to volunteering is to decide what you want to do. There are so many opportunities: feeding the homeless, washing animals at an animal shelter, delivering papers to patients in the hospital, helping with activities at a senior citizen home, helping out at your local library, etc. There are volunteer opportunities for everyone. Once you have chosen the volunteer opportunity you would like to take advantage of, it is up to you to set time aside out of your busy schedule. No one expects you to volunteer all day long, but even just an hour of your time can make such an impact on someone's life. After that one hour of volunteering, I guarantee you will be hooked. The feeling you get after you have made even the slightest impact on someone's life is so rewarding. You don't have to commit yourself to an actual volunteer schedule. Any time you have some free time, take that time and use it to make a difference.

I started volunteering when I was in high school. I felt like I always had exams to study for and papers to write. Not only was I bogged down with schoolwork, but I was also a cheerleader and on a dance team. On top of all of this, I was a waitress at a local restaurant. I felt like I never had any extra time for myself. One day I decided that I wanted to make a difference and do some volunteer work. I would characterize myself as empathetic and love to help people, so I knew that I would find the most satisfaction out of volunteering at a hospital. After looking at my schedule, I found that the only time I would be able to volunteer were Saturday mornings. As a high school student, giving up my Saturday mornings was a huge sacrifice but something I was willing to do. After my first day of volunteering, I felt so rewarded. The patients were so appreciative that I took time out of my day to spend with them. I ended up becoming very close to the extended stay patients and continued to volunteer at the hospital until I graduated high school and moved away for college. This just goes to show that as long as you dedicate yourself to volunteering, you will make time to do it and love every part of it.


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