Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Department of Family Medicine

Posted in Scholarships,Teaching

by Khadija Mubarik, MS4

The Integrated Medical School and Family Medicine Residency (TIP) Program offers a compelling future to me for simple reasons. It is a conjunction of every trajectory I aspire towards – competent and community-centered family medicine in the state of Michigan. These dreams were not always clear but became so through each building experience medical school had to offer.

I did not know family medicine was the path for me before medical school. I arrived an open book, ready to see what every route offered. Each discipline I stepped into promised its own spectrum of challenges and victories. I began my third year at a challenging time in my life. My first core clerkship was internal medicine, and it paralleled the epitome of my father’s illness; he would pass in the month to come. After his passing, when I returned to rotations, I found myself immersed in psychiatry. I came to understand common treatable conditions of mental health and gained insight on how to delicately approach conversations with patients. Next, I stepped into the world of obstetrics and gynecology. I was enamored with peripartum patient care. Some of the special memories of medical school are getting to witness life’s first breaths and all the pain, blood, sweat, and tears that precedes it. Every birth felt like a story I could relive to articulate my passion for obstetrics. Still, I knew there was more to be experienced.

Next, I returned to Internal Medicine to experience it in better focus. I came back to this field following months of healing and found it an entirely different experience. I also had a new appreciation for death. It had only been a few short months since I had lost my father to pancreatic cancer. I connected more with patients facing challenging health conditions and was better able to understand their needs. On the first day back, I found myself running to a patient code with my team. Until this moment, the patient and I had only exchanged brief morning pleasantries, and within three hours, I would hear his grieving partner’s voice fill the room as his time of death was announced. In this moment, I knew I would never fear the most human parts of medicine – the emotions surrounding health changes. I had spent too many heavy moments at my father’s bedside to shy away from another’s moment of vulnerability. I did not leave the hospital before sharing my condolences.

Pediatrics was a different world. I love being around children, and learning the medical world of growth and development in these years gave me worlds of insight into the progression of healthcare throughout one’s early life. Every experience left me smiling; taking care of the future felt so fulfilling! I found powerful lessons in how well many pediatric patients would become agents of their own health when empowered with information they are able to process. Next came surgery. My favorite moments were of accompanying patients to and from procedures; they would share their anxieties or comedic insights of their health. I found much value in being able to visualize the effects of atherosclerotic disease in the vessels of a patient. It made the clinical conversations of heart disease all the more pressing, and made the role of family medicine extremely influential in my perception.

Made the role of family medicine extremely influential in my perception.

The last thing that surgery gave me was the suspicion that family medicine was the future for me. I sat in a vascular surgeon’s office, looking over his shoulder as we prepared to discuss peripheral vascular disease with a patient referred from their family medicine doctor. I scanned their chart and commented that we resided on the same street. I considered how this connection could strengthen the clinical conversation to come. Having a familiarity with the schools, grocery stores, and community life that surrounded the patient gave me an extra insight into his daily life, and therefore his health. Warmth swallowed me whole as I considered the prospect of being able to care for my neighbors – the ordinary people surrounding our daily lives. I have lived in the metro-Detroit area for as long as my memory serves, and in this time have grown deeply entwined to the community that surrounds me. My path has taken me through interfaith work to a free health clinic for the underinsured to planning annual health screening events, all experiences that I now realize had been guiding my current career trajectory. My aspirations are deeply rooted in the people who have supported me toward them, and to bud into a developing physician for the community that helped to shape me would assign even more purpose to a career I love. This moment of realization buried the seed in my mind just in time.

I arrived at my final rotation – family medicine. It was the extraordinary disguised as the ordinary. I truly could experience all the magical moments that enamored me throughout my third year of medical school. While immersing myself in all family medicine has to offer, I experienced a large spectrum of care. This indiscriminate, all encompassing field means preparing new life for the world, educating patients faced with new conditions they do not yet understand, explaining the options for someone having a mental health crisis, and seeing people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. The vast spectrum of it all inspires me. I look forward to being able to build this training pathway even further. Family medicine became a certainty for me on this rotation, and I felt lucky it came at the end of my clerkships. Nothing else had stood a chance.

In every new clinical experience came an understanding of what I wanted my future to look like. Similarly, with every personal challenge comes clarity. Burying a parent has felt more like putting down roots than any other experience in my life. I know with confidence that Michigan is the place I hope to grow wiser and older in both my career and my personal life. For now, I excitedly look forward to a family medicine residency and aspire towards competitive training in the various sub specialties family medicine has to offer. I want to grow and thrive in the state of Michigan. I hope for a long career in Family Medicine, a career of taking care of the health of my neighbors.


Click here for more information on TIP.