Medical School students tackled their studies and COVID, too – Harvard Gazette

Medical School students tackled their studies and COVID, too – Harvard Gazette


It has nearly been a year since the pandemic started, and the challenges of COVID have reaffirmed my commitment to becoming a physician scientist. Amid the uncertainties of the new virus, I was amazed by how quickly scientists researched to accelerate vaccine development. Quickly the discoveries in the laboratory became tangible solutions that are both safe and effective. Watching the pandemic unfold coupled with a background of a Ph.D. in cardiovascular medicine reaffirmed what brought me into medicine: using my clinical training to guide research that will have real-life implications for my patients.

Now, I am lucky to be vaccinated as a front-line health care worker caring for patients at BIDMC. While it is difficult to witness patients suffering during a pandemic, I am warmed by the extra mile physicians and nurses go. Whether it is staying up late to update worried family members or ensuring patients have an iPad to speak to their loved ones, I am constantly reminded of kindness and hope. At the same time, I feel privileged to be able to listen to patients’ stories and with the trust they place in me. While the knowledge of medicine is infinite, there is just as much to be learned from my team members, colleagues, and patients themselves.

Harvard University Medical School student Sarah Ahmed is pictured.

Never before has the importance of medicine and proper medical education and training come to impact livelihood as explicitly and blatantly as it does now. The pandemic has continued to fuel my pursuit of medicine while simultaneously begging the question of how to navigate as a medical professional within an inequitable system. Being born and raised in the Boston area, I was excited to join HMS and work to serve my local community. As the threat of COVID continued to spread, and medical schools sent their students home, I found myself seeking further involvement as a means of coping with the stress and unknown. I volunteered with a food pantry that distributed fresh produce and prepared meals to local neighbors, helped administer COVID vaccines at various vaccination sites throughout Greater Boston, and enrolled in a mental health first aid course that aims to link people experiencing different challenges with the appropriate professional support.

Working through my primary clerkship experience, I have come to appreciate the importance of maintaining an active relationship with the local community, in order to be readily available during the most desperate of times. The pandemic highlighted the need for health care professionals to continue working toward building trust amongst their neighbors. As a medical student, I benefitted from my status, being informed on all the latest developments of understanding the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while keeping my family and friends informed. I joined the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project to help disseminate the most pertinent and latest information regarding this novel virus but recognize that the health care system has much to do to catch up. Despite the limitations presented by COVID-19, I aspire to continue contributing to the facilitation of medical care access and education under the guidance and training of my committed and encouraging colleagues and mentors.


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