Their smiles were contagious. As the hot Ghanaian sun blazed above me, I could not stop thinking about how I could influence these children to live healthier lives. I was hopeful, but wondered if they would remember anything from the public health sessions. Would they even remember me? Yes, the advances of technology had allowed access to information at the click of a button, but was information about healthy living and medicine ever going to reach these young minds? Would they ever be able to educate themselves about their own health?
During my sophomore year at Emory University, I had the privilege of volunteering at makeshift clinics in rural Nicaragua and Ghana. While I was there, I saw how the youth around the world lacked adequate health care access and knowledge pertaining to health and medicine. Although I hadn’t realized my passion yet, it was the beginning of an idea that would lead me to where I am today.
After returning to Emory, I continued pursuing the normal pre-medical life. On the side, I found myself becoming increasingly passionate about visual media such as photography and filmmaking. I would get immersed in designing flyers and short videos for school cultural organizations and student government. This continued until my senior year when I got involved with a school news reporting group and reported on the Affordable Care Act. The experience left me enthralled and this was the first time I realized how I could use visual media as a medium to educate about health and medicine.
Time flew by and before I knew it, I had already graduated from Emory. Soon after graduation, I came across a cab driver who had moved to the U.S. from Somalia. He was very interested in learning more about getting into medical school. After having a great conversation with him, my experiences from Ghana and Nicaragua came rushing back to me, and I knew that now was time for me to act. One thing led to another; I decided that I would use my interests in medicine, and visual and social media to raise awareness and educate the public, especially the youth, about the health, medicine, medical education and healthcare.
And thus, Meducation TV was born. Meducation TV is now a YouTube and social media-based project that aims to educate the public, especially the youth, about health and medicine (including tips how to get into medical school). I plan to get more young individuals (elementary, middle, high school and undergraduate students) involved and make being ‘#meducated’ a trend!
As I look back at my years as a pre-medical student, I can’t help but think of the many times I was unsure of who and what kind of a doctor I was becoming. However, I was never afraid to try new things: things that seemed irrelevant at first but actually invigorated my passion for medicine. If I had not pursued my interest for the visual arts alongside my interest in medicine, I would not be where I am today. Often times, the road to becoming a medical doctor seemed to be set in stone, but I kept on searching, and realized that no two paths to medicine look the same. I dare you to challenge yourself and find your reason to pursue medicine, or any career for that matter, and I guarantee that the world will thank you for it.
About Arish Jamil
Arish Jamil is an aspiring physician, director and educator. He grew up in Lahore, Pakistan and went to school at Aitchison College. He is now a graduate of Emory University (Chemistry & History Double Major). In 2012, he volunteered at makeshift clinics in Ghana and Nicaragua and realized his passion for using visual media (film and photography) to inspire and educate about health and medicine. He is now the founder of ‘Meducation TV’ and plans to go to medical school, while also pursuing his passion for visual media as a medium for education and inspiration about health and medicine.