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FALL 2015 COMMUNIQU 7 STUDENTS Macomb FINDING PURPOSE through international service in their practice but hold onto their empathy despite their personal and professional tragedies. These doctors suffer because their empathy makes them vulnerable but in addition to understanding their patients medical conditions they are more likely to demonstrate warmth compassion and appreciation for their patients experience. Kristine understands suffering. As a young boy she knew that she was different. She was gentle sensitive and idolized Wonder Woman. Every night before bed she prayed that she would wake up as a girl. Her adolescence was alternately lled with rage and despair. During college she began to give voice to her transgender identity. However it wasnt until she was 22 with the help of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Gender Services Program that she actually began the transition to her preferred gender. It was the most difcult time in my life she said. Her support system dwindled. She endured physical and emotional abuse was forced out of her job by an employer and lost faith in religious organizations who preached love but demonstrated the exact opposite. For those who had known me my transition was a death she noted a death with a complicated bereavement. My family and friends had to grieve the person I was get to know me again and realize that I was still the same person they loved. Now condent in her identity and married for eight years to a husband whom she describes as a wonderful human being Kristine is using her personal and professional experiences to help others. I want people to understand that most transgender people live normal lives. We have jobs friends and families. Most of us just want to blend into society she said I recognize that outing myself is a personal risk to my relationships and to my professional future but if my experience can help others better understand or treat patients who are gender variant then I am happy to tell my story. She adds Sometimes you have to be the change you want to see. Pradeep Johns Pradeep Johns is not alone in entering MSUCOM with a strong devotion to service and caring but several experiences along his path to medical school changed how hes looking at the future. Natives of Bangalore India Johns family moved to Troy Michigan where he attended high school before completing a bachelors degree in physiology at MSUs Lyman Briggs College. It was during his undergraduate years that he took advantage of an opportunity for an international experience that changed his life. During a 2010 trip to India with students from a number of Big Ten schools Johns had the opportunity to volunteer with an organization called Aruna that works with women and children trapped in the large sex-trafcking industry. I primarily worked with the children of women in the red light district he said. These children didnt have a home or any hope of escaping this terrible system that they were born into. While he was initially frustrated and disheartened after seeing the deplorable conditions that existed and the lack of resources to make major long-term changes in a drastic way Johns refocused his thinking on helping those individuals with whom he was working. Even though a language barrier existed we were able to encourage and play with the children who would come into the small building that was owned by Aruna he said. I tutored these children and since I was a pre-med student the staff at the organization asked me to put on a mini medical education camp for the children. His experience was so meaningful that he went back earlier this year to work with the women who are trapped in the sex trafcking industry. The great need for social justice in this area was matched by their spiritual medical and emotional needs he said. I began to catch a vision for what it could look like to use medicine as a platform to serve and to be a part of the positive work that is already being done. While Johns knew from an early age that he wanted a career in medicine it wasnt until he traveled to India that he began envisioning what his future as a physician might look like. When I was in middle school I attended a talk by physicians who were doing medical missions in Nepal. I didnt fully understand what kind of commitment and sacrice this required until I went on a few medical mission trips myself. I know that becoming a physician will require sacrices of many kinds but ultimately I know its worth the cost because it will allow me to positively affect and care for whatever communities I nd myself in the future. He found a natural t for interest in caring for the underserved in osteopathic medicine. What attracted me most to osteopathic medicine was the whole- person care approach he said. With my long-term goal being international medicine in underserved areas I love the idea of using my hands to treat patients especially with the realization that many areas I could see myself working in have limited resources. I feel passionate about making the most of the opportunity of becoming an osteopathic physician in hopes that I could be able to make an impact in the red light district in some capacity. I am uncertain of what that role would look like or the avenue through which I can serve but I am faithfully trusting that as I progress further into my medical training I will come across opportunities to serve and be involved in the ght against sex-trafcking. Her profession as a social worker has dened Kristine Beards aspirations as a physician. Pradeep Johns third from left poses with other college students in Mumbai during a mission trip to help victims of sex trafficking.