From the Desk of the Council: Towards a Brighter Future

One of the core missions of the Honors Diversity Council is to serve as a voice for marginalized communities on campus and foster a sense of belonging. Their weekly blog posts discuss the experience of students with marginalized identities/and or how the University community can be a more inclusive environment for everyone. This week, Kamilla Jacobo shares why she studies medicine and how she hopes to give back to her community in the future.

With curiosity and concentration, I listened carefully to the beating of my mother’s heart. Moving the stethoscope across her chest, I could hear her pulse loud and clear as my mother explained to me the process of pulmonary circulation. Growing up, my mother expanded my curious young mind by reading me books about science and medicine and by talking to me about her studies. Together, we would spend time at our local library reading endlessly about the incredible human body. My mother never had the opportunity to fulfill her dreams of becoming a physician, but her desires of being a physician live through me as I began to grow an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about our human body and its functions at a young age.

The day my mother showed me her stethoscope, she introduced me to the scientific field that would become my passion as I grew older, the field of medicine. My mother and the various opportunities I had been given throughout my life have inspired me to become a physician. I knew medicine was the path for me and I began exploring my medical interests. I became an intern for the Camanche-Dewitt Coalition to learn about the opioid epidemic in my community. As an intern, I researched the medical disparities in my community, specifically in addiction medicine. My discovery led me to a side of medicine that I had never seen before. I found that physicians in my community overprescribed addictive medication and overcharged their addiction patients to make higher profits. I interviewed a nurse at a local hospital, and they recalled a time when the Iowa Department of Public Health created a program to help reduce opioid use in my community, however, the program was unsuccessful because there were no physicians who specialized in addiction medicine who were willing to be a part of this program.

My experiences as an intern taught me the responsibilities that come with being a physician. A patient looks at you with trust in your knowledge and your care, and to see physicians in my community break that trust made me devastated. Hearing the numerous stories from my those in my community about how they were impacted by the opioid epidemic in my community inspired me to take initiative. Dedicating my career to my hometown, Clinton, would be an honor. Being a physician that specializes in addiction medicine would give my community a chance to bring back a program that could change the opioid epidemic in my hometown. Helping Clinton grow towards a brighter future and providing the community with the medical resources it needs to combat the opioid epidemic and the lack of medical resources would allow me to fulfill my lifelong goal of taking care of and positively impacting the place I call home. My community deserves quality medical care and a chance to prosper.

As a freshman at the University of Iowa, I have been given opportunities to explore my medical interests and develop my career. From volunteering at the public library, teaching elementary students how to write, and becoming a research assistant at a lab with incredible people, I have been able to live a life of filled with meaningful experiences. Coming from an immigrant and ethnic household, I have learned to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me. Before I came to college, my mother reminded me to seek opportunities that my parents were not given the chance to have. Today, I keep her words in my mind and challenge myself to keep pushing through obstacles and grow into the person I have always admired. My dreams of becoming a psychiatrist are not just my dreams, they are also the dreams of those who want my community to grow towards a brighter future.

Author Bio:

Hi! I’m Kamilla Jacobo and I am a Psychology major with a minor in Latinx Studies on the pre-medicine track. I’m originally from Eastern Iowa and have lived in Iowa my entire life! I find passion in participating in outreach work, volunteering around the community, and advocating for underrepresented/underserved populations. I am an undergraduate researcher at INI and am passionate about anything involving medicine and psychiatry. I volunteer for the Iowa Youth Writing Program, the Iowa City Public Library, and the University of Iowa Food Pantry. I enjoy reading historical fiction novels, participating in yoga classes, chatting with my friends in my dorm hallway, and spending all my money at local restaurants (let me know if you want recommendations, I’ve been everywhere)!  


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