FACES OF SSF
“I wanted to go back to school and I kind of felt like a health science related field seemed like something I wanted to get into. I started off with taking Anatomy because I knew that was the most basic class I had to take and at Colorado University they have a cadaver lab, which I didn’t know about when I signed up, and on the first day I just knew, I was like ‘This is it. Any sort of other plans are going out the window. This is what I have to do.’ Myself and one of my friends at CU followed SSF on Instagram and we’d always chat back and forth about different videos that SSF would post and we just loved them because they’re the most informative videos out there, the most interesting and exciting, and the easiest ones to understand. One summer night I was on SSF’s instagram and I saw they’re doing an Anatomy Bootcamp and so I dropped everything I was doing and went for that week and fell in love with what SSF did, obsessively. Now I’m a clinical anatomy fellow here. I think when you learn about anatomy you learn about yourself. At the end of the day I’m just learning about my own body and the different parts that all work together. The most amazing thing is that we have billions and billions of little pieces that all work together and most times it doesn’t go wrong. That’s beautiful. Anatomy brings in science and medicine and history. It brings so many different worlds together. Haven’t we always wondered what’s underneath us, what’s in us; to be able to explore that first hand never gets old for me.”
Charlotte - Boulder, CO
I’m Dr. Odo from Japan. I’m working in Wajiro Hospital in Fukuoka city as a general surgery especially G.I. and emergency. I’ve been working as a surgeon for 37 years. My father was surgeon but he passed away when he was 32 years old and my father’s grandfathers all were ophthalmologists for consecutive 11 generation. Cause my father was surgeon that’s why I want to be a surgeon. He’s hero of me forever.
Masaharu Odo, M.D. - Fukuoka, Japan
“I was born in England into an Iranian family. My family moved back to Iran when I was 6. I went to dental school and soon after I graduated I started practicing, but it wasn’t the most fulfilling thing to become a regular dentist in a private practice. So I managed to get a full scholarship from the Japanese Government to do Ph.D. in dental materials. That took me to Japan and I ended up staying for an extra 10 years as a faculty member at Tokyo Medical and Dental University . A couple of years ago Dr. Joel Berg, dean at University of Washington Dental School, and I were talking about the future of dentistry and we found we had a lot in common and he invited me to apply for a position in Seattle. At dental school I wasn’t really into anatomy classes and cadavers it was little bit scary I have to say, I wanted to spend my time somewhere else. In dental school and dentistry basically you go to anatomy before you start actual practice and there isn’t much chance to get back to anatomy and revisit it. My visit to the Seattle Science Foundation reaffirmed and reconfirmed what I had imagined about the importance of anatomy. So now I think our curriculum should now involve some revisiting into clinical anatomy for our students because it’s lacking in dental education. Dental anatomy as we teach it is more about the morphology of the teeth but I think the type of anatomy that is promoted at the Seattle Science Foundation is what we definitely need not only for our pre-clinical training but for our clinical training as well.
Alireza - Seattle, WA
“Growing up my mother was a nurse. She would get periodicals sent to her which were illustrated by the medical artist Netter. So I would read those journals that would come to her when I was in primary school. In my undergrad work I did some volunteer work at my mother’s hospital and that gave me a little surface exposure to the practice of medicine, the challenges. In my first year at medical school I was very intrigued by a neuroanatomy professor at the University of Toronto, Mike Bertram. Dr. Bertram would use two pieces of chalk and draw perfectly symmetrical coronal images of various levels of the brain and I thought that was super cool. And I like the symmetry and the organization of the nervous system I guess because it appealed to my OCD traits. In my third year I had an opportunity to do a neurosurgery clinical elective at Toronto General Hospital. When I went to meet the neurosurgeon I was informed that he wasn’t there because he was doing an emergency case but I might find the chief resident on the ward. So I hooked up with him, twenty minutes later I was assisting him taking out an acute subdural hematoma. So that was very exciting. That’s how I became interested in neurosurgery.”
Michael - San Fransisco, California
"I can't say how much is important, going back to anatomy. We should look at the basics of our discipline to find a solution and of course you have technology. Today you have a lot of tools that makes it easier but I think that we should never forget that, it's fundamental. During my time here I had the opportunity to observe some OR procedures and some surgeries as well so I tried to have balance between dissections and clinical experience, and I strongly believe that such a kind of experience dramatically impacts your everyday life, your everyday practice."
Filippo - Bologna, Italy
"I was in between law and medicine and was leaning toward law school. My mother sat me down one day and said, ‘you have to go to medical school, you have to do this.’ And I was like, ‘you can’t tell me how to live my life,’ but she’s my mother so I ended up going to medical school. Up until last year I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. When we were learning the fundamentals of everything I was like oh my goodness I really really love this and then we had patient encounters I was like this is amazing and then saw my first surgery and I was in love with this. I really really like working with my hands. Finding new things out about the body and refining surgical procedures and constantly having to retrain my hands sounds really exciting to me. Every time I dissect I think it’s ridiculous that these structures actually exist inside me and give me the ability to speak or to see. It’s such a humbling experience to look into a human body and see what’s inside you to see the fibers of what you’re made of. In the years ahead I don’t want to forget how amazed I am about everything I’m around today. I don’t want to be bogged down by the slump of residency and being an attending that everyone says will happen. I also don’t want to forget to be confident and also not lose the thoughtful tentativeness I approach everything with. I don’t want to forget that at one point I was a student and before that I wasn’t a student. I don’t want to forget that the flesh and blood inside me is the same flesh and blood I’m seeing on the operating table in front of me. Most of all I want to make sure I’m genuinely enjoying what I’m doing. I’m very very very happy I chose this path."
Chindinma - New York City, New York
"My brother has been very sick for the last ten years and was very sick while I was in med school, so that definitely drove me to work harder and study harder. I remember days and nights where I’d get calls about how my brother is doing and I’d get very emotional, but in the back of my head I knew I had to keep going. If I let this bog me down I knew there’d be no way I could study for these exams or finish them. I don’t see many things as obstacles but I just see it as something you have to do. The more hard things you go through, the more challenging your life is, the more difficulties you have to go through along the way it just makes you stronger and you can push through bigger things in the future. Being in the hospital you see what impact the doctor has on the family and the patient. Every patient that comes through has their own backstory they have their own families, their own lives going on, so every person is like an entire book. That’s why I want to be a doctor because I can interact with this person 1 on 1 and read this book."
Bryan - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
“I have a special interest in child neurology and I’d like to eventually go back home and help with autistic kids in Nigeria. There’s a lot of stigma attached to disabled children back home and so I’d like to increase awareness and bring a more holistic approach to their clinical care. The secondary school I went to was one of the best in Nigeria, but at the time that I was there there was a class called the “special class.” And kids who didn’t look like the way other kids looked like were put in that class and weren’t allowed to have classes with anyone else, had their own table they sat on, so we didn’t know how to react to them or with them because we were never in the same environment as them. And then kids who didn’t perform well enough were also shipped off into a subgroup of that. Kids who couldn’t speak properly, kids who walked funny, kids who had a drooping face or something, something that you could tell they were impaired somehow were not treated very nicely. Even in hospitals in Nigeria I’ve never seen a child that looked differently than I did, so there’s not many neurological based special centers for these kinds of kids. There’s orphanages for kids like this that aren’t receiving proper medical care in these homes. I would like to use my background as some sort of foot stool to help them.”
Naomi - Nigeria
“I’m 20 years old and I want to be a doctor, but one of the biggest struggles I face is that there are not many women of color in the field I want to pursue. I think one of the most important things to me as a doctor wouldn’t be the science itself behind the medicine but more understanding the struggle and suffering the patient is going through. Both of my parents have chronic conditions so that has helped me realize that it’s not always about getting better but about understanding that suffering and helping them get through it. In twenty years I would hope that a women in my position now wouldn’t feel intimidated and that she’d feel like she has a source of support through her professional journey. Being a doctor is really hard and it’s important to feel like you have a place in that community. While I may be one of few in my intended focus, one of my greatest rolemodels once told me, 'if you're not feeling a little bit of imposter syndrome', you're not challenging yourself enough. This saying has always pushed me to think bigger and do better, and my fellowship here has been one of my greatest avenues to do so.”
Jocelyn - Tacoma, WA