Every student enters medical school with his or her own experience based on background and family history. For some, medicine or medical professions are in their blood.
Adam Braun is a second-year medical student who comes from a family that is filled with medical professionals. His great-grandfather, grandfather and both parents are doctors. He also has aunts, uncles and cousins with careers in healthcare.
Finding his own way into the field
As a child, Braun expected that he'd follow in his parents' footsteps. But despite the pull toward science, he explored fields outside of medicine during his undergraduate years at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he became part of a creative community that led him to consider music.
"By my senior year, I thought about exploring music or working in green energy," he recalls. "But I applied to medical school anyway."
When it came time to write his personal statement for the application, Braun had some self-reflection to do.
"I didn't know how to answer the question of why I wanted to be a doctor," he says. "It would have been simple to say it was because my family does it, but that wasn't it. I saw the impact that being in medicine had on my family. It affects the way you carry yourself, how you interact with people, the compassion and devotion you have."
That compassion for serving others and making a difference in the world ultimately led Braun to apply to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Continuing the legacy
Braun can find mentoring, advice and study support from his family throughout his time in medical school, but he also faces expectations that can be significantly different from those of fellow students who come from a different family background. Both of his parents are on the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA faculty, which adds a layer of pressure to how he interacts with professors, peers and others in medical school.
"At times, I feel like I need to be more impressive, act more professional, whenever I meet a new professor or scientist," he says.
But, he admits, it's nice to have family on campus who understand the struggles and challenges of being a medical student. With such a diverse group of professionals at home, he also has been able to observe multiple medical professions up close.
"The members of my family are all interested in different aspects of medicine," he says. "My grandfather is a surgeon and loves talking about cases and the problem-solving aspects of medicine. My mother is an ophthalmologist, and my dad is more into biochemistry, with a wonder about all of medicine."
Now in his second year of medical school, Braun says he's not yet sure about what he wants to specialize in, but he is interested in several possible areas. But whatever direction he pursues, he genuinely connects with the passion and healing that doctors provide.
"When you hear it's a noble profession that provides a basic human good to people, it sounds like an overstatement," he says. "But when you're here and doing it, it doesn't feel that way. You give patients hope and help them see what their future can be."
By Patricia Chaney