When I think about why “Grant Writing”, I think about why I chose to pursue a PhD. When I started my undergraduate program, I had my mind focused on going to medical school. I majored in Biology. I volunteered countless number of hours. I took MCAT prep courses. I did everything that a medical school applicant should do, except actually shadow a physician. I volunteered at a hospital so I did not think it was that important until my junior year. I decided why not.
I might as well shadow a physician just to say I did it. I signed up and was so excited. That did not last long. I did not enjoy one minute of it. The physician visited each room for less than 2 minutes. In the span of an hour, he visited over 15 patients which he did not know anything about until the nurse briefed him prior to entering the room. I wanted to be a physician to make a difference, and to be able to connect to people. After that shadowing session, I did a couple more because maybe it was just that person. Nope. This is how I knew that I didn’t want to go into medicine, but I didn’t know what to do. My whole life, I imagined being a physician. That was my only plan, so I tried to force myself to do it. I studied for the MCAT and took it twice. My score was okay both times, but I never submitted an application. Studying for the MCAT was not fun. I was not interested in the material. I forced myself to do it because I didn’t know what else to do. I realized if I was miserable studying, do I really want to put myself through 4 years of that plus more?!
After a year of working, I decided to pursue a MPH degree. When I started, I started with a mindset of this is something to do while I figure it out. I had never taken a public health class in undergrad. My first semester, I fell in love. WHERE HAS PUBLIC HEALTH BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE? I actually enjoyed learning. In undergrad, I paid attention and studied to ace my test. During my MPH degree, I enjoyed learning and applying the material. I learned about the limitless opportunities within public health, and I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be. There are so many options, that I had a hard time choosing what career path that I wanted to pursue. I just knew that I loved research. I decided to pursue a PhD because I wanted to gain all of the knowledge that I could in the field, and also master my research skills. Also, I wanted the freedom that comes with a PhD. Yes, I could’ve been an epidemiologist with a masters degree, but I believe that a PhD degree will allow me to have more flexibility in the research that I want to conduct.
I fell in love with research in a maternal and child health class that I took. I was introduced to the determinants, mechanisms systems that maintain health, safety, well-being of children and their families in communities and societies, while learning about the maternal and child health populations; conceptual frameworks; health indicators; research issues, program planning and evaluation. This is when I became interested in studying maternal mortality. It is alarming that the racial disparities in maternal exist in a first-world country, still in 2021. This brings me to my why of grant writing. In the beginning I talked about how I wanted to make a difference. Most people want to make the world a better place in some way. My contribution to making a difference is maternal health research. In order to conduct effective studies and implement practices, I need grant MONEY. I conduct research to promote the welfare of underserved populations to ensure equity to the access of quality care. Writing a grant is not easy, and there are some really smart people out there. There will be times that I will be rejected. There will be times when I think that my idea or intervention is the solution, but it won’t work out. My journey to a PhD is not traditional, and everything has not gone as I planned not well it always go as planned. As long as I stay focused on my goal, I will be put in the right positions at the right time to make indispensable decisions.