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Occupational Therapy Doctorate, OTD, African

Your distinguished Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program at the University of XXXX is my first choice for graduate study for various reasons, most of all the sheer excellence of your program. I decided on your schedule some time ago and have worked very hard for more than a year to complete the prerequisites. I was initially attracted to the University of XXXX as I researched my career choices because it was the first accredited entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program founded at a public institution. I now live in Washington, DC, which is very expensive. I hope to lower my expenses by living and studying full time in a place like Ohio, which is somewhat less costly, to be better able to afford my education. Another reason I am applying to your program is because you wave the GRE examination—which I have not taken—based on good grades.

I finished medical school in my native Africa, and after gaining some experience practicing medicine, I permanently immigrated to the USA three years ago; first, I had a lot of work to do bringing my English up to a level where I might be able to make essential contributions to my new society as well as support myself and my family. I come from Burkina Faso, a French-speaking African country. Until moving to the USA, my second best language was German, which I studied in high school and college. When I arrived, I knew almost no English since I did not have the time to learn it, giving all of my time to studying and practicing medicine until I left Africa. Now 40 years old and with less experience in medicine than many of my younger competitors in an increasingly competitive scenario for medical doctors, I found the task of studying for the USMLE examinations and earning a sufficiently high score to be accepted to a medical residency position in America to be a daunting one indeed, not because of any unfamiliarity with the material of medicine, but, relatively, my underdeveloped grasp of the English language. Thus, while my English has made great strides and I am now capable of communicating well on many levels, especially professionally, returning to the practice of medicine here in America, I decided, was not really within my grasp. So, I began searching for a related field where I might excel here in America. I found it in Occupational Therapy.

While still in Africa, I worked as a family physician treating patients of all ages. Nevertheless, the patients I found most engaging and inspiring were the children; I hope to develop a particular interest in children as an OT professional, doing research into program design and implementation and working in collaboration with NGOs. As a medical doctor, I diagnosed, treated, and rehabilitated malnourished children, many with HIV.  I worked on nutrition and tropical diseases in Freetown, Sierra Leone, for one year (2010-2011) and attended a one-month training workshop in Uganda. I also went to Nairobi (Kenya), Niamey (Niger), and Casablanca (Morocco) for workshops, experiences that will serve me well in the fulfillment of my goal of someday returning to Africa as an OT professional.

I was a twin brother, and we both got poliomyelitis just before we turned 5. Neither of us ever received vaccinations because our parents could not afford the treatment and transportation to the health center 35 miles away. Unfortunately, my twin brother could not pursue his education because of the disabilities that resulted from the disease. In time, polio ultimately took his life, as he became increasingly ill and died from a conflux of chronic conditions while I was in high school. At that time, I took an oath to become a doctor to honor my brother, and to do something about polio, to help the survivors of this disease which continues to ravage large parts of Africa, leaving crippled and desperately ill children if they are lucky enough to survive. This population, in particular with which I hope to excel as an OT professional, are children that have survived polio at home in Africa. The more that my career advances over the years and the more that I can afford to do so, I hope to again spend increasing amounts of time in Africa developing, implementing, and overseeing occupational therapy programs in my home country of Burkina Faso, training other health professionals as to how to best care for disabled people, generally speaking, especially children, and particularly polio survivors. I plan to give several decades, the best of my life yet to come, to the right NGO, an organization such as “Handicap International.”

Shortly after I arrived in America in the spring of 2013, I began intensive ESL classes. By the summer of 2014, my English language skills had improved to the point that I could perform successfully in regular classes starting that summer. For more than a year, I have set my sights on your OTD Program at the University of XXXX. I gave my studies my all, earning mostly As not only in the courses where I had an advantage as a medical doctor, Biology, Human Anatomy, and Physiology, but I have also done well in Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, Mathematics, Physics, English Composition, Speech/Communication, etc., helping me to incredible diversity my use and appreciation of the English language in a more comprehensive fashion and expanding my human horizons at the same time. Since February 2015, I have also been recognized as a Scholar by The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS).

I am currently enrolled in Human Anatomy and Physiology II, Medical Terminology, and Human Growth and Development. Finally, before beginning my doctoral studies, I will also complete Microbiology and Statistics courses. I see all of what I have studied so far over my last three years in the United States as preparing me for excellence in your OTD Program at XXXX University.

I look forward to making valuable contributions to discussions in and out of the classroom as a passionate and dedicated student, a polio survivor, and a medical doctor with a deep and abiding love for children and attending to their unique needs.

I thank you for your consideration of my application.





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