Dr. Boazak’s Med School Experience: A Lesson in Global Health
Mina Boazak, M.D., a former police officer in his hometown of Toronto, Canada, switched career paths when his desire to become a physician became too intense to ignore. He earned acceptance to American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), and hasn’t looked back since.
“My interest in medicine was present early in life, but I did spend some time serving my community as a police constable,” said Dr. Boazak. “Although it deferred my entrance into the field of medicine, I’m grateful for the personal growth and exposure it provided. I was a better student because of it, and now I’ll be a better physician.”
This July, Dr. Boazak begins his psychiatry residency training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., and looks forward to one day working in an academic setting as a clinician, educator, and public health advocate.
A Collaborative Medical School Community
While completing the medical sciences curriculum in St. Maarten, Dr. Boazak contributed to the collaborative learning environment fostered by AUC. He served as teaching assistant for the anatomy department and a tutor for several courses. During this time, he also dedicated his time to serving the St. Maarten community.
This would be the beginning of many volunteer activities. Dr. Boazak took every opportunity to become involved in the university’s global health experience—both during his time on island, and as a clinical student completing rotations at affiliated teaching hospitals across the US, Canada, and the UK.
“Through AUC, I have had the privilege of participating in many service-learning activities in St. Maarten, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States,” said Dr. Boazak. “These opportunities left me with valuable lessons on health and illness in international environments, government’s role in public health, the impact of non-profit foundations, the importance of teamwork, and so much more.”
Mission Trips to Kenya, Orphanage Outreach, and More
Dr. Boazak actively contributed to the mission of organizations focused on improving the lives of those in need. He participated in outreach activities with St. Maarten organizations such as the ICan Foundation, an orphanage and foster home, and the Diabetes Foundation. In the UK, he volunteered with CityMission, a charitable organization which provides services and ministry to underserved groups. Dr. Boazak also travelled to Kenya on a month-long medical mission trip. There, he worked at a hospital in Kisumu, and spend considerable time volunteering at a children’s orphanage in Nairobi.
“These experiences have provided me with insights on the social condition, the disparities in access to quality medical care, and how physicians play a key role as community leaders,” said Dr. Boazak. “Because of this, I’m beginning residency as a physician conscious of the impact I can make, and the honor it is to help those in need.”