Scholarship Recipient – Heena Razzak
I am greatly honored to receive the Academic Scholarship Award from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine. I am so grateful to St. Matthew’s for giving me a chance to pursue my passion — which is medicine. I have always wanted to become a physician and the roots are from helping in raising my younger sister who is autistic. She has shown me how to help and love people.
Starting at the age of eight, I played a significant role in my sister’s life. I was a translator for my mother when she took my sister to her pediatrician, neurologist, speech therapist and occupational therapist. In addition, I attended her IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings from an early age to help my mother obtain the best resources for my sister. I would also do routine music therapy and sensory brushing for my sister every morning due to her sensitivity to noise and texture. I helped my sister for many years. Since my family were immigrants from Pakistan to the United States, I had to help my parents a great deal. Therefore, at a young age, I had a great deal of responsibility. My mother and father looked up to me for major decisions, especially regarding my sister.
Due to my role as a caregiver, I have had direct experience learning to have compassion for people with disabilities. I also learned to deal with a complex medical and health insurance system, which influenced me to obtain a Master in Public Health at the Mercer School of Medicine. I learned about disparities in health care, disease prevention and health promotion. I will be able to carry these concepts with me to be an effective and compassionate physician.
While at Mercer, I completed an internship at the Emory Autism Center in which I conducted a research study about how IEPs (Individualized Education Program) differ between rural and urban areas in Georgia counties. These experiences have heightened my interest in learning to work with children with developmental disorders, and I am seriously considering specializing in pediatric neurology. Next, I obtained a Master of Science in Neurosciences from the University of Hartford to learn more about developmental disorders and autism. While I was at the University of Hartford, I was also a lab instructor for the undergraduate biology and microbiology courses. This has proven rewarding because I enjoy helping students learn and grow. From my experiences I have learned to never give up on a goal no matter how hard it is. I believe that to become a great physician you need to have persistence and dedication. My hardships have made me strong and resilient, and I am passionate about pursing my dream of becoming a physician at St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine.