My name is Carla Plaza. I am an undergraduate student at the University of California, Irvine. I will be graduating June 2013 from the School of Biological Sciences with the B.S Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. I am also pursuing a minor in Civic & Community Engagement. Since I was young I wanted to become a physician. I have always been interested in science and how to use it to help others. For me, whether you hold an M.D. or not, there is the principle of The Three C’s in practicing medical care: Commitment, Competence and Compassion within the context of developing better physicians and healthcare workers and the relevance of service leadership in their lives.
I came across CFHI through one of my volunteer experiences as a bus coordinator for UCI for the yearly 9th National AMSA ARC/UCD Pre-Medical & Pre-Public Health Conference at UC Davis. I was then told about CFHI’s mission, their different community health projects and Global Health Immersion Programs that join health professionals and students with the purpose of impacting healthcare in diverse countries. My motivation to get involved in this volunteer opportunities is funded by a personal principle that access to medical care is a human right and not a privilege. Helping underserved communities locally and internationally is a moral obligation to all those that have not been challenged by all these disparities.
Being able to participate in one of the CFHI programs “Confronting Tropical Disease Challenges” in Mumbai, India has deepened my commitment to service. It has also allowed me to develop a larger sense of cultural competency and widen my public health knowledge of many infectious diseases that the Indian population are exposed to, and do not occur in the United States. Mostly I have been able to learn from foreign physicians how to provide medical care in conditions where supplies, technology are scarce and where problem solving was at the order of the day.
I am deeply thankful to Child Family Health International for awarding me with the scholarship to attend this program. I am looking into a very near future that I can contribute so others can have this life changing experience.