"But yet, my parents believed in the power of knowledge and they were determined to sacrifice everything in order to give me the opportunity that so few were given; the chance to follow my academic dreams."

-Henry Claude Francois, Medical Student

 

 

 

My name is Henry Claude Francois and I am a second year student at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Prior to my enrollment at Georgetown, I attended University of Central Florida where I earned a bachelor of science with emphasis on laboratory medicine. My drive to become a physician has been greatly influenced by my upbringing. I was born and lived the majority of my childhood in an impoverished community in Haiti where only one physician and two nurses had the impossible task of responding to the healthcare needs of the entire population. In the summer of 2002, my family experienced the consequences of this inadequate health care when one of my siblings suffered from frequent and severe headaches. For two years, I despondently watched as my brother could not be diagnosed and received the proper medical care. Meanwhile, his health was deteriorating, his voice was feeble, and he often held my hand to ask me for help; the one thing I could not provide. I felt miserable, helpless, and devastated because I could not alleviate his pain. This horrible circumstance induced in me the spirit to do everything possible to change this inadequate access to health care. It has since become my passion to pursue a career as a physician so that no one else suffers from this horrendous feeling of hopelessness.

From social, economical disparities to a long history of political turmoil in Haiti, this passion seemed to be only a dream; one that could never become a reality. My struggles begin with a lack of education. I grew up in an environment where more than half of the population never attended school. Consequently, most children did not have the proper guidance and quitting school was a common denominator. But yet, my parents believed in the power of knowledge and they were determined to sacrifice everything in order to give me the opportunity that so few were given; the chance to follow my academic dreams. In the summer of 2005, I moved to the United States and I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity.

My acceptance to the Georgetown Experimental Medical Science graduate program was instrumental in my quest to earn a medical degree. This program helped me to expand my repertoire of knowledge, strengthen my leadership skills, and gained a better understanding of my community. I was surrounded by outstanding classmates and incredible mentors who always pushed me to reach my fullest potential. I am glad that I chose Georgetown for my medical education because the spirit upon which the school was founded upon and Georgetown’s philosophy of “Cura Personalis” coincide with the type of physician I want to become and ultimately the legacy I want to live by. I strongly believe the duties of a physician go beyond just a simple interaction with patients. It involves providing an effective and compassionate care for every single patient; a caring approach that encompasses psychological, spiritual, social and physical well being of the patient. This approach is in fact the creed of the Georgetown medical experience; one that I indeed want to be a part of. The vicissitudes that surrounded my early days instilled in me the spirit to strive for the better. Looking back, I am proud of my accomplishments but I am even more excited for the day when I return home as a physician to serve those in need.