How Osmosis Scholarship Winner Dilan Shah “Imagines More”
Published on Jun 15, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.
Osmosis is now accepting applications for round two of the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship! As part of the application, we want you to share a video telling us how you plan to embody one of the six Osmosis values—Start With the Heart, Spread Joy, Imagine More, Open Your Arms, Have Each Others’ Backs, and Reach Further—in your future clinical practice.
Today, we’re featuring an interview with our final winner, Dilan Shah. Dilan is a first-year medical student at the new Texas Christian University & University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas, an innovative new medical program that hosts a holistic, patient-centered curriculum with early clinical exposure, formal empathy training, and integrated research. In line with the forward-thinking program he chose to study medicine, Dilan plans to “Imagine More” as a future doctor. Read all about it in the interview below, and don’t miss his video submission at the end!
How did you hear about the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship?
I heard about the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship through my school’s director of financial education. He sends out scholarship opportunities periodically.
What was your application process like?
The application process was actually pretty fun. Having to answer the short essay questions allowed me to reflect a bit more on my journey to medicine and put some of those motivations and aspects of my story into words. The video gave me a chance to convey my passion for the Osmosis pillars, though it took me far too many tries to get the perfect cinematic take! The whole experience was gratifyingly introspective.
You chose “Imagine More” as the Osmosis value you identify with most strongly. If you had to choose another Osmosis Value, which one would you pick, and why?
Another Osmosis value that I identify with is “Open Your Arms.” Medicine should not discriminate against culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other pseudo-division in the human condition. It is undeniable that there will be moments along our arduous journey that will harden us, as there are many brutal realities to face, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that even in those challenges, I can find a way to open my arms to others rather than retreat. I have always tried to embody this value and embrace excellence through diversity, I hope that as a physician-leader I can continue to encourage this tenant.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a medical student, and how have you worked to overcome it?
The saying that learning in medical school feels like “drinking out of a fire hydrant” is no joke. The pace at which we have to cram information into our heads, synthesize it, and then apply it is astronomical. Those first few months were really challenging, and like many of my peers, I was plagued with a touch of imposter syndrome. I struggled to balance schoolwork with physical and mental health. But eventually I got the hang of it and found a study routine that allowed me to stay on top of material and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle– Osmosis videos and practice questions are definitely an important part of that efficient study routine!
What are some ways for current and future clinicians to be more inclusive in their clinical practice?
One of my roles here at the School of Medicine is as a Student Senator for Diversity and Inclusion, so naturally inclusion in medicine is something I think about a lot. One technique we have implemented here at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine is teaching students to introduce themselves with their preferred pronoun. We have even created an email signature specifically for those who have gone through LGBTQ+ inclusive SafeZone training. We also ask our patients how they would like to be addressed when we begin clinical encounters.
Before medical school, I volunteered at an LGBTQ health clinic and saw first-hand how terrified HIV+ and transgender patients were of judgment by physicians. So while it may seem insignificant, giving a patient the autonomy to choose how they identify opens up the physician-patient relationship and makes for more productive medical practice. LGBTQ+ inclusiveness is only one part of the inclusion in medicine initiative at this school. I am really proud of how inclusive my clinical training has been here at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.
How does it feel to have won the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? Anyone you want to shout-out or give thanks to?
I want to thank my parents who, as Indian-American immigrants, made unimaginable sacrifices for me to even have a chance at leaving a positive impact on my community. Writing the essays for this scholarship allowed me to express that gratitude in words that I have never before been able to articulate. Winning this scholarship, in some small way, validated those sacrifices.
How has COVID-19 impacted your studies, and what advice do you have for students navigating these circumstances?
Since COVID-19 hit, we have fully transitioned into virtual education. One of the reasons I chose the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine was because of how uniquely innovative the curriculum is. That spirit of excellence through creativity is well reflected by how the faculty and administration have handled this transition. We have embraced a telemedicine model for clinical skills training, and have been provided with subscriptions to 3D software to mimic our cadaveric education. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the day that I can again use my stethoscope on a patient and examine real anatomical structures.
My advice for my peers who are training in this COVID-19 reality is to embrace the change and find ways to take care of your mental health during this challenging time. The state of our society feels heavy right now, and while there is a lot we cannot control, we can learn to control our internal state. Use meditation apps, do some home yoga, go for walks, call your friends and family, or whatever form of self-care you find centering. Above all, do not fear embracing the need for professional mental health services. The best thing we can do for our future patients right now is to take care of ourselves so that we can be strong healthcare leaders when our time comes.
About DilanDilan Shah is a first-year medical student at the new Texas Christian University & University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. This program hosts a holistic, patient-centered curriculum with early clinical exposure, formal empathy training, and integrated research. Dilan will soon begin research examining biomarkers of depression, and is interested in specializing in psychiatry or neurology. Dilan enjoys the outdoors, meditating, or working on community development projects.
Applications for the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship are now open! As part of the process, we ask for a video telling us how you plan to embody one of the six Osmosis values in your clinical practice. You just might win one of six scholarships on offer: one $5,000 prize and five $1,000 scholarships are available. Visit our scholarship page for details.
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