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Student Essay Contest Winner: Grades 6-8

Sstudents in grades 6 to 8 answered the question, “How does a career in healthcare enrich humanity?”

Following is the winning essay. (All essays have been edited slightly to facilitate readability.)

Health Care and Humanity

A career in health care can help humanity in several important ways. Our health care system is not the result of only one person’s efforts, but the accumulation of knowledge gained over centuries. Each generation of caregiver has added to the knowledge in a chain of learning spanning centuries. The benefits to humanity are undeniable. Human suffering has been greatly reduced through discoveries of medicines and vaccines, new surgical techniques, and through modern medicine’s emphasis on both the psychological as well as physical well-being of patients.

The field of health care is very large, with many areas of expertise. Human suffering has been greatly reduced through the development of drugs. Painkillers and antibiotics have dramatically improved the human condition. But there is still work to do. Research for new cancer and AIDS drugs are a priority for the world’s medical community. Many people all over the world are dying from AIDS in the prime of their life, especially in Africa.

Another area where a career in health care could help humanity is in the discovery and development of new surgical techniques. In the old days, surgeons would simply cut off body parts because they lacked the knowledge and training of how to make fine repairs to the human body. Now patients with bad hearts can undergo surgery to either fix or replace damaged tissues. Bones can be mended with rods and casts. These surgeries can help both patients born with defects or with severe damage due to car accidents or falls.

A new area of knowledge for doctors and scientists is in DNA. The potential of this new area is tremendous and may hold the key to reversing damage to tissues due to disease. Doctors believe in only ten years, genetic tests and DNA modification to living embryos may end many deformities that now go undetected and ultimately cause Down syndrome and other severe birth defects. Adding to our knowledge in this field may make genetic defects a minor problem to fix for future generations.

Health care can also be related to the mind as much as the body. Today there are many people dying of diseases like AIDS and cancer who know they are going to die. Compassion is a big part of humanity. Helping terminal patients live with dignity through these conditions is no less a part of health care than the development of drugs, surgical techniques or new areas of medical science.

A career in health care helps humanity by carrying on the age-old tradition of adding to and passing down medical knowledge from one generation to the next. The reduction of disease and pain, the improvement of both the length and the quality of life for mankind is a truly worthy use of our most talented people.

I do not know if a career in healthcare is something that I would want to do when I am older, but I respect the person that dedicates their time, talent and resources to the cause.

Justin Ryder
Valley View Middle School
Age 11; Grade 6