Health Advice



Medical students begin careers amid pandemic, with white coats, high hopes and Narcan kits

Susan Snyder, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Health & Fitness

"A lot of times patients look to their doctors for answers," she said. "What I've learned today and the year past, medicine isn't the answers. Medicine is a continual seeking of answers."

It's hard for the public to understand health care policy, she said. She cited the confusion around mask-wearing and shifting guidelines. She wants to address communication gaps that lead to those misunderstandings, she said.

"If we bridge the communication gap, we're going to be able to bridge and overcome the differences we have," she said.

Jain was motivated to go into medicine after seeing babies undergo operations at a children's hospital when she was in high school.

"I wanted to help those tiny babies," she said.

Jocelyn Watts, 31, a Temple University graduate from South Philadelphia, worked as a drug and alcohol counselor in the city and was inspired by the doctors trying to help patients overcome addiction.

"I want to be someone who is a pillar of the city, a doctor who is here to help," she said.

Watts was among 2.8% of 11,678 applicants accepted to Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Medical College this year.


They're an eclectic group, a cross section of humanity, and their diversity will help them connect with patients, Tykocinski said. He read off the class profile during the ceremony. There's a cowboy, a drone pilot, a stand-up comic, a professional roofer and a television production assistant. There are musicians, dancers and athletes including a cricket player from rural India.

One student sang for the pope, another at the Vatican. Some overcame serious diseases or saw a family member do so. One spent a gap year in Senegal. There's the grandson of a Nobel laureate, a baking blogger, and a costume entertainer.

One, Tykocinski said, is a triplet.

That's Habash, who learned as a child the human impact a doctor can have on a young boy. He was inspired to become a doctor by his pediatrician, he said.

"My family is Palestinian American," Habash said. "I've always grown up on the margin of the Arabic culture but wanting to fit in with the American culture. ... Growing up, the one thing that was consistent in my life was going to the same doctor's office. I always felt I was heard and taken care of.

"Down the road, if I'm able to give a child who does not have a stable household 15 or 20 minutes of care and compassion, I can make a very large difference in their life."

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