As a South Korean citizen born in Pakistan and now living in the United States, Janet Kim has developed a unique identity and global perspective. Recognizing the disparities in health among people in Karachi, Pakistan, pushed her closer to viewing medicine and health as potential equalizers that could enable disadvantaged people to live healthy and fulfilling lives. This realization propelled her to study human development in college and eventually enroll in the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Master of Science in Global Medicine program, to better understand the biological, social and cultural aspects that impact health.
A pivotal moment for Kim was the time she spent at a vaccination clinic in Kashmir, India.
“The significance of (doctors’) contributions dawned upon me,” Kim said. “I realized that doctors stood at a unique intersection of applying medicine and creating social justice. They were protecting children with modern medicine. I witnessed how the doctors in Kashmir worked tirelessly to improve the lives of its people and felt inspired to take action and pursue this career as well.”
Kim, the president of global medicine’s chapter of WorldMed, worked toward creating opportunities for students to apply their global health knowledge to serve the East L.A. community. She organized an HIV mobile clinic on World AIDS Day and spearheaded the program’s participation in the REACH symposium, which gave elementary school students an opportunity to improve their writing skills while learning about topics in health, medicine, engineering and technology.
This fall, Kim will pursue her medical degree at Drexel University College of Medicine. She said, “my experiences at USC have shaped my motivations to practice a style of medicine that is patient-oriented and seeks to treat the human condition instead of just symptoms.”