As a little kid in Thailand from 1998-2006, I learned that the US had the best Healthcare in the world and that if my mother had been treated for cancer there instead of in Thailand, she would have survived. I wanted nothing more than to make her feel better, for her to come back, and I resolved to do whatever possible to make that a reality. I was devastated to see her pass. However, I did not want her loss to be in vain. It became my motivation to better the health of everyone. I wanted to ensure that no one ever suffered as my mom did.
I moved to the US in 2006 to live with my great-aunt, a nurse in Chicago, IL. She’d recount her experiences of the hospitals she worked at as bedtime stories. I distinctly remember her telling me about her first year as a nurse in the ICU (intensive care unit) of Cook County hospital in 1973, detailing a line of patients leading out the emergency room door. Today, county hospitals in the US are not much different – still overcrowded and understaffed. These stories changed my perspective of the US Healthcare system forever.
The stories from the two most influential women in my life inspired me to work to better the US healthcare system. I was inspired by the good it can do but devastated by the limited access. I started on the road to becoming a provider but soon realized that working on policy can help prevent the crack from forming rather than only band-aids for those who have fallen through. I wanted to ensure that everyone could access any treatment needed to improve their health. We all can take little steps to fix the foundation of the US healthcare system to make the reality of the best technology, access, and health outcomes more and more true.
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