Hi! My name is Tina Tarazi and I am a pediatrician. The lessons I learned through my involvement with FIMRC have played such an important role throughout my journey in medicine and continue to influence the way I practice medicine. I am so honored to write this blog post and share with you all the impact FIMRC had on me becoming a pediatrician!
Being a pediatrician is something I knew I wanted to do since I was a teen. Once I arrived to college at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana (UIUC), I sought out opportunities to serve and help children in a positive way. FIMRC was the first organization which I joined that aligned with this view. I remember my first FIMRC meeting at UIUC. I was a newly minted college freshman, and did not know anyone at this meeting. Everyone seemed to know each other, as if they had been long time friends. They talked about the mission trips they did the year before, the families and communities they got to know, what they learned, and most importantly how humbled they were to serve children in this way. I left the meeting feeling like I had found a community of people that were genuinely inspired to help others and each other. For me, that feeling stood out from the other numerous medical organizations on campus. From that moment, I knew I was all in.
Being part of FIMRC during the 4 years I was at UIUC was a decision I have never regretted, and as I have mentioned, served as a cornerstone for my career in medicine.
During my time with the UIUC FIMRC chapter, I went on medical mission trips to the Peru and Uganda FIMRC sites. One overarching theme at both FIMRC sites was that health education is an empowering and sustainable tool that can cause positive change in health behavior. By partnering with, involving and understanding the needs of the communities they serve FIMRC is successful in achieving this model. For example, while we were doing home visits to HIV positive patients that were part of the FIMRC Uganda clinic one patient greeted us saying, "I have HIV and I am living pos-i-tive-ly!" This is a saying she learned through the FIMRC clinic which she visited weekly for educational classes about HIV and overall health. The clinic was working toward reducing stigma, providing resources to and empowering those affected by such a prevalent disease within the community. The educators of the clinic were primarily community members, and together with FIMRC leadership they helped develop the educational materials for the community. Some additional examples of classes the clinic taught were on family planning, malaria, sanitation, vaccinations and dental hygiene.
This experience taught me first hand that simple educational messages can create significant and lasting impacts.This concept is universal. Within the US there are numerous rural and urban areas that have limited access to care and troubling health epidemics. By understanding the needs of the community, targeted education can empower individuals and help create positive change. This important lesson has guided me through some of the highlights of my career this far — some of which include patient care, presentations and research.
FIMRC taught me the importance of taking the time to understand, and for which, I believe I am a better physician. I cannot thank FIMRC enough for the friends, mentorship and lessons they taught me, and hope to continue to pay it forward to the FIMRC community.
Tina Tarazi, MD