Loyola University Chicago

Center for Experiential Learning


Thomas Serena

Thomas Serena
Psychology of Natural Sciences: Pre-Medical, '14

I recently attended a medical brigade to Africa where I worked with many individuals from diverse backgrounds.  This experience brought me to the central region of Ghana where we provided medicine, dentistry, and public health to 928 individuals in an extremely small village.  I soon saw how diversity characterized this trip as it was quite apparent in many aspects such as language, education, heritage, and health care practices.  The community lived with feces and sewage flooding their streets, malaria, and only one patient who had previously been to a health-care institution.  I was able to shadow doctors and dentists from Ghana and learn about the differences of their culture and language of the small village we served.  Each of these diversities brought challenges throughout the week.  However, their diversities also brought a great opportunity to learn about these special people who would ultimately change me forever.

The medical mission to Ghana was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. In addition to playing an active role in delivering health care, I was able to take a firsthand look at how global health can impact the world.  More than ever, I have a profound calling to become a physician who contributes to global health care and one in complete support of universal health care.  Working with individuals from such individualistic backgrounds has deepened my commitment to universal access to health care and providing health care on a global scale.  I will forever carry this experience working with the diverse people of Ghana throughout my life. 

This year, I am applying to medical school with the hopes of becoming a Pediatric Oncologist. There is nothing more that I want to do than to become a doctor who serves to better the lives of others. Even more, I hope to one day return to Ghana, not as a student, but as a physician to deliver medical care to such underserved populations.