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MPH, Public Health Masters, Haiti

May 3, 2013

Having been born and raised in a tiny rural village in the backwoods of Haiti, I am well aware of hardship, which has made a dedicated and compassionate professional. At 39, I want very much to finally complete my dream of graduate school so that I can help my people, first those who have made it to New York and later those who remain on our tragic island. The recent earthquake, now aggravated by flooding has played a major role in my desire to better educate so as to be able to help.  One of fourteen brothers and sisters, two of whom died in childhood due to unhygienic health conditions, my parents were literally dirt poor tenant farmers. While my father finished the eighth grade; my mother was illiterate and could barely scrawl her name.  I grew up in grinding, barefoot poverty in a commonplace shack with a tin roof. The broiling tropical sun made it sweltering inside. The torrential rains poured through our leaky roofs and the streets outside became a sea of mud in the rainy season.  Since we frequently did not have enough to eat, I learned first hand what it is to experience the wrenching pangs of hunger.  These challenging circumstances helped to forge my character and make me a stronger person, as well as one who can genuinely empathize with the suffering of others.

 When I was fifteen, my father obtained a green card and we immigrated to the United States and moved into the tenement slums of “little Haiti” in upper Manhattan. I entered high school not knowing a word of English. The school was infested with gangs and a far cry from the homey environment of my village in Haiti.  Through much struggle and effort, I was able to master English, although I did not graduate from high school until I was twenty. After finishing high school, I enrolled in and completed a home health aide training program. I took the fall semester of 1990 off, and worked full time to save for college tuition. I first enrolled in XXXX College and then transferred to XXXX Community College where I earned an AAS in dental hygiene. After that, I entered XXXX University, obtaining a BS in biology.  I have known all along that I wanted to become a health care professional, and, thus, chose to study in these fields, ultimately preparing me for graduate study.

 After completing my studies, I felt a strong desire to return to my native country and help raise people out of the vicious cycle of extreme poverty, hunger and unhealthy living standards, but I had to postpone my dream as a result of family and financial responsibilities.  Now, however, I have achieved the level of maturity, tenacity, security, and liberty that I am finally in a position to pursue advanced studies in the area of public health. Ever since obtaining my BS in biology, I have worked as a dental hygienist. All these years, I have never forgotten my dream of returning to my native country to help my long suffering people.  Since I married several years ago, my husband, also from Haiti, has encouraged me to pursue my ambition of obtaining an advanced degree in public health.  And his support has helped to inspire me with the confidence to fulfill my professional dreams. Although I live in NYC, the recent catastrophic events in Haiti, have shaken me to the very core. Now, more than ever, I feel an urgency to acquire the training needed to help those in dire need.  If selected to enter your program, upon graduation, I will work to raise the health and living standards of Haitian immigrants living in the United States. As the doors open, I would also like to return to the country of my roots to help rebuild the health infrastructure and make a difference in people’s lives.

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