Holistically Healthy

How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying.


His cell phone rang again. Sighing, my father ducked his head apologetically before excusing himself to pick up the call. It was the hospital calling to inform that a patient—an elderly undocumented immigrant—had returned to the emergency room yet again. Fearing her illegal status would be revealed, she delayed seeking the treatment my father had prescribed until her conditions became so severe that she finally went to the emergency room.

It had never occurred to me that a profession so deeply rooted in empirical evidence could also be impacted by ethical, political and demographical factors. But when I began working at my father’s clinic as a receptionist, I started to notice the way medicine linked so many different subjects together to provide a tailored treatment for each patient. The woman with type 2 diabetes was prescribed insulin supplements so she could taste-test her pastries. The veteran with back pain who loved glassblowing was advised a surgery so he wouldn’t have to continuously take pain medication due to his active lifestyle. As I spent more time at the clinic, I saw how my father incorporated snippets of unique patient information into each treatment.

In high school, I studied “Transcultural Healthcare” which...

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