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    The following is some information about Azita's scholastic and professional achievements. First is her resume, and second is an essay that she wrote when she was applying for residency at different hospitals. Finally, there are letters of recommendation, which were written on Azita's behalf by her professors and colleagues.

Azita's Resume


Akademia Medyczna, Poznan, Poland (6/1998)

Doctor of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh, PA (8/1994)

Completed first year of Ph.D. program in Infectious Disease and Microbiology

San Diego State University, San Diego, CA (5/1993)

Master of Public Health in Epidemiology

East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN (12/1984)

B.S. in Microbiology


Examination: United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

USMLE Step 1: Score: 236/93, 92Percentile (6/1998)

USMLE Step 2: Score: 231/89, 91 Percentile (3/1998)

Certificate: ECFMG (Issued October 1998; Valid Indefinitely)


State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY (7/1999 – 7/2000)

Internal Medicine


Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (10/1997 – 12/1997)

Electives in Cardiology and Endocrinology

Ft. Yuma Indian Hospital, Ft. Yuma, AZ (7/1998 – 8/1998)

Externship in Primary Care

Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA (3/1999 – 6/1999)

Externship in Internal Medicine, ICU, and Hem/Onc consult


University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine (6/1992 – 5/1993)

Research Associate:  Participated in a multi-center clinical trial, “Fracture Intervention Trial”, to investigate the efficacy and safety of Alendronate

University of California San Diego, School of Medicine (6/1992 – 5/1993)

Research Associate: Evaluated the role of basal plasma calcitonin level in a population-based cross-sectional study       

San Diego County Department of Public Health (9/1992 – 12/1992)

Research Associate:  A hospital-based study to evaluate the implementation of hepatitis B vaccination of infants born to high-risk women

Centers for Disease Control (6/1993 – 8/1993)

Internship:  An evaluation of physician’s office laboratories in order to provide baseline data for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act


Microbiologist Technologist, Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Atlanta, GA (11/1985 – 1/1987)

Identified microorganisms and performed anti-microbial susceptibility testing as well as informed physicians and nurses on appropriate specimen collection and transport media.

Chief Microbiologist Technologist, Doctor’s Laboratory Management, San Diego, CA (1/1987 – 1/1991)

Identified microorganisms and performed susceptibility testing.  Additional responsibilities included accounting, billing and training new employees.

Awards and Honors

Internship at the Centers for Disease Control (6/1993 – 8/1993)

One of 60 students selected from the schools of public health for a summer internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Dean’s List (1994)

Wanda Blenska Academic Scholarship (1995-1997)

Awarded annually to the medical student with the highest academic achievement

Ranked First – Class of 1998

Volunteer/Extra Curricular

Volunteer: AIDS Buddy Program, San Diego, CA (1992-1993)

Visit AIDS patients in the hospital or at home who did not have any other support system, to help them both emotionally and physically as well as connecting them with different social and health services.

Volunteer:  Birmingham Free Clinic for the Homeless, Pittsburgh, PA (1993-1994)

Interviewed patients with infectious diseases.  Educated patients regarding many health issues including risk factors for contracting various types of infectious disease, smoking cessation, and alcohol and drug abuse.

President:  Pittsburgh Iranian Cultural Association, Pittsburgh, PA (1994)

Infectious Disease Department Representative: Doctoral Student Association (1994)

Volunteer: Venice Family Clinic for the Homeless, Venice Beach, CA (2002)


Citizenship:  U.S. citizen

Hobbies/Interest: Dancing, Poetry, and Photography


Azita's Essay

My decision to become a physician evolved gradually. As a child growing up in a small town in Iran, much of the population - including my family and I - routinely contracted endemic infectious diseases. It was my earliest introduction to such illnesses, and I was fascinated with microorganisms that I could not see or feel, but which our town doctor repeatedly told us were responsible for our misery. Then and there, I became determined to pursue a profession that would relieve such suffering. When I enrolled as an undergraduate student, those childhood memories remained just as strong and I chose microbiology as my field of study.

Upon graduation, however, my parents and younger siblings joined me in the United States. They had been forced to immigrate and leave behind all their savings. My family now looked to me for emotional and financial support and I was unexpectedly obliged to postpone my studies to begin working as a microbiology technologist. What I initially considered to be a detour to my career actually served to renew my confidence in my own ability and choices. While working at different laboratories, I realized that the real advances in disease prevention occur by integrating public health with basic sciences. Therefore, when my parents regained their financial independence, I entered the Graduate School of Public Health.

While there, I participated in a hospital-based record review at the County of San Diego Department of Health to evaluate the implementation of hepatitis B screening and vaccination of infants born to high-risk mothers. As the result of this study, birthing hospitals were encouraged to put into action a policy of mandatory screening, documentation, and immunization of all infants born to high-risk mothers. Additionally, I worked at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, with Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor. I participated in a multi-center collaborative clinical trial, investigating the safety and efficacy of Alendronate, and I independently evaluated the role of plasma calcitonin level in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis in a population-based study. I was also among 60 students selected to do an internship at the Centers for Disease Control. As a result of my CDC internship project, practices and problems encountered in physicians' office laboratories could be better identified, and ultimately, baseline data was established and recommendations were made for the revision of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA-88). These projects deepened my understanding of epidemiological and statistical methods, as well as enabled me to develop a thorough grounding in public health. They also helped me to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to conduct sound scientific studies.

In 1993, I was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh’s Ph.D. program, where I began to focus on the epidemiology of infectious diseases among the homeless. To better understand this issue and collect data, I began volunteering at a free clinic for the homeless. It was at this clinic where I truly fell in love with medicine. Although research challenged my problem-solving skills and was mentally stimulating, it did not satisfy my need to work with people. I realized that a life spent in research, however edifying, was not for me; my heart and soul lies in human interaction and in taking care of the sick. My dream of becoming a physician took me not across a country, but across a continent where I started my medical studies in Poland. While there, for three consecutive years, I was awarded the Wanda Blenska Academic Scholarship for achieving the highest grade point average. During this journey, I not only received my medical degree, but I also observed how health care worked in the social medicine system and how different cultures perceive pain and suffering.

When I graduated from Medical School I did a primary care externship at the Indian Health Reservation in Arizona, it was during this time that I realized that internal medicine is the field that I am most passionate about. Therefore, in July of 1999, I began my residency in internal medicine. I welcomed the challenge of a physically and emotionally difficult internship where I had the opportunity to care for patients from all levels of the social and economic spectrum. The process of obtaining a thorough history, performing a detailed physical examination, analyzing and interpreting laboratory data, all which helped lead to proper diagnosis and treatment was intellectually stimulating. Even more rewarding was the opportunity to work on a personal level with each patient, integrating individual care with disease prevention and health promotion.

I continued my residency until August 2000, at which time I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My entire world changed instantly. Suddenly I was no longer the physician, but the patient. Surprisingly, my 'enemy’, cancer, became a great teacher. I felt privileged and inspired by many patients who shared their stories with me. Through these interactions, I often observed moments of despair, agony, and frustration mixed with hope, tenderness, compassion, and above all, love. During those times, I realized the depth of human resilience. Although I had always considered myself a compassionate care-giver, I had never truly realized how much the patients endure. I can now truly say that I know how people feel when faced with a devastating disease such as cancer. As a cancer survivor, not only have I come to cherish every moment of life, but my commitment to become a compassionate and knowledgeable physician has been deepened even more. 

In order to continue my education, I have been attending noon conferences and morning reports at the Scripps Clinic, UCLA, and the West Los Angeles VA, in addition to volunteering at a clinic for the poor and homeless. I am also writing a book about my experience as a patient, and have become very interested in photography, especially social documentary photography. I have also started learning Spanish as well as playing the Setar, a Persian instrument.

In the future, I envision using my training in patient care, research, and teaching to serve both individual and community needs, in particular, caring for underserved patients in inner-city settings. I would like to integrate patient care with broader issues pertaining to the field of public health, especially in the areas of disease prevention, health promotion, and health policy. I bring diverse experiences, high energy, and the emotional preparation required for residency training. I have learned to listen and communicate effectively with people from different cultures, and appreciate the value of human diversity. I have also learned that regardless of nationality, social status, or health condition, people deserve compassionate and knowledgeable physicians, who offer both medical skills and human respect. My personal and professional experiences have taught me that the simple act of holding a patient’s hand and truly listening can have a tremendously positive emotional effect. I love medicine more than ever. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to continue my training and to fulfill my dream of practicing medicine.

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