My name is Safi Bajwa and I am a 4th-year undergraduate student pursuing a Biology degree. My long-term goal is to attain a medical degree to provide healthcare to underprivileged communities and work diligently on combatting socioeconomic structures that hinder proper healthcare treatment and access. I am passionate about deeply understanding health demographics and health policy that directly affect the underserved community, and then utilizing this vital knowledge to provide optimal healthcare and opportunities for the community in the future.
I have lived most of my life in Corona and Orange County in a Muslim Pakistani family with four siblings; all of us being close in age. My desire to pursue medicine began as a child when my younger brother was spontaneously diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. At just barely three years old, he suffered from bruises around his body, and septic arthritis. Additionally, his platelet levels were too low to be detected. Since I shared a room with him, I would often wake up to see him vomiting blood.
The severity of his condition made my family and I fear for his life. To this day, I still remember visiting him at the ICU, forcing a smile while I tried to ignore the lines running through his body. As an older brother, all I wanted to do was be there for him. For two years, mine, my family’s, and the medical staff’s support became the miracle he needed to make a full recovery. My desire to heal my brother has galvanized my pursuit of medicine. As I have journeyed through this path, I sought out experiences that built compassion in me as a future caregiver and expanded my service to disadvantaged members of the community.
By playing an integral role in communities where medical staff and students help alleviate some of the difficulties that underserved community members face, I have become attuned to the careful interventions patients need not only for their immediate medical problems, but also for the social factors contributing to their illnesses. Now serving as the Graduate Student Research Assistant for the Center for Social Innovation, I will be accumulating both qualitative and quantitative data regarding demographics and policies in the community to help make knowledge more easily accessible and presentable. I hope to contribute to the CSI’s mission in promoting civic engagement and innovation for the betterment of the Inland Empire and seeking education and opportunity for disadvantaged communities.