This fall ASLME was approached by University of Georgia student Benjamin Park with an interesting proposal. The enthusiastic undergrad was interested in forming the first ever ASLME collegiate chapter. While still in the early phases, the Society is looking forward to working with Park on this new opportunity, and we are excited to introduce this student member to our readers.
What made you decide to start a chapter of ASLME?
I started a student chapter of ASLME, because as an undergraduate student I realized that many undergraduate schools don’t really have any courses or professors that teach about ethics in healthcare and law. I was actually abroad in Spain at a program for pre-health students when I was asked about the ethics in a medical scenario. I realized that I truly did not know how to answer the questions. I wanted to go into healthcare, but had completely forgotten about the others major sides to healthcare, including laws and ethics. Most of these students only focus on patient care and learning about the human body, but they completely forget about these other two factors that play majors roles in healthcare and research. Many of the students don’t know about these issues, because there are no requirements in the coursework for pre-health or pre-law students for these big issues. Therefore, I wanted to spread knowledge and awareness about the importance of analyzing and incorporating law, medicine, and ethics for these students going into their future fields without any knowledge in these topics. Traditionally, ASLME is an organization that works to bring together professionals in these different fields, but I think that it is also important to educate the students before they decide to pursue careers in these fields. College is a unique place where undergraduates, graduate students, and professors can all engage in meaningful contact. Hopefully this student chapter can show the promise of a collegiate chapter, so that it may spread to other campuses in America.
Is there a project that you have you worked on that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of my work as a leader of UGA’s International Genetically Engineered Machine Team. We worked hard as a team of just around 4 dedicated members to compete against international teams of nearly 20-30 people. I don’t think that I have put as much time as I have put into this project as any other single project or goal I have ever worked for. Obtaining a medal with the efforts of just 4 people at an international competition by creating a genetic model for an organism that could potentially create a sustainable hydrogen economy has been one of the highlights of my college career. Meeting deadlines and goals while managing different aspects of the project such as creating a website, incorporating human practices, and doing the actual research are experiences I will never forget. Finally, presenting in front of different teams and judges from all over the world and being able to stand there with those bright minds at a conference hosted by MIT was my great fortune.
What do you hope to do after graduating from UGA in 2018?
After graduating from UGA in 2018, I plan to take the next step in my goal to work in healthcare by attending medical school. I want to take an approach to healthcare at both a macro and micro level. I want to work at the patient to patient level, as well as changing the policies that serve and protect the patients with an MPH/MD dual degree. I look forward to taking the next steps in my designing and conducting policy and experimental research while learning to become a physician. My final destination falls in a place where I can influence both policies and practice medicine for a brighter future for the healthcare on both a personal and large scale level in the United States.
Who is someone that inspires you and why?
An incredible person that inspires me is Dr. Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti, the world’s most renowned robotics based surgeon. To be someone who can literally pioneer a field and be one of the best is something that I wish to be able to do. I truly believe that telemedicine and robotic surgery will become a major direction for the future of healthcare and medicine. At the end of the day, improving the quality of care for patients in the healthcare system is what I would like to contribute to as a future doctor. As someone who has done so much as the father of robotic surgery and setting the pace for one of the possibilities of the future of healthcare, I can’t help but admire his innovation and ability to push past existing boundaries.
What are some of your interests outside of academia?
Outside of academia I like to challenge myself in all things physical. I rowed at the University of Georgia for a year, and I absolutely love to travel. So far as an undergraduate, I have only been able to travel to Spain and South Korea by myself, but I would really love to visit more places before I graduate to get a better worldview before medical school. Experiencing different cultures and traditions is always an incredible experience. From bullfighting in Madrid to climbing mountains in South Korea, traveling has given me freedom and greater self-awareness. Lastly, before the end of next year, I would like to win a local amateur boxing title, as I really love boxing and all the adrenaline that it brings. It really is a sweet science, a science that I haven’t been able to encounter in my coursework.