CRAFTING WELLNESS STORY

Never Believe A Few Caring People Can't Change The World. For Indeed, That's All Who Ever Have

Escaping prep for the MCATS by distressing at the gym led these two future doctors to a bonded friendship. Now Shawn is pursuing Podiatry, and Murad is about to begin medical school. They sat down with MDF Instruments to talk medicine and how they both came from other countries that had limited access to care. Healthcare is a human right. They are paving the way for the future and bringing change with them.
@shawnankles
@muradrazzak_11

TRANSCRIPT

Murad
I grew up in a rural area, and there was no modern medicine, they didn't even have a clinic. And it was pretty far away. So if you're poor over there, access to medicine is very difficult. And my uncle, he was a lawyer at that time, and he wanted to help the local community. So he spent money out of his pocket and, you know, did a lot of nonprofit to bring clinics and doctors in our area to help the poor population. And that kind of really inspired me to do the same.

Shawn
I grew up in Pakistan actually for about 12 years of my life. So it was very apparent to me the the foot and ankle dysmorphia that goes on over there, the diabetic population and the non conservative approaches and high rates of amputations. And so that sort of influenced me by the way, I would see kids my age that were young, and you know, disability as I came to America and learned all the other different medical fields and it just really always stood out to me to be able to, you know, help somebody walk again or feel comfortable again.

Brooke Smith
Hi, everyone, welcome to MDF Instruments Crafting Wellness Podcast.

Shawn
Hello, everyone. My name is Sean. I am a first year medical student I am in Podiatric Medicine and foot and ankle surgeon.

Murad
My name is Murad I'm going to be a first year medical student I'm going to start next year.

Brooke Smith
You guys are obviously friends. I would love to hear how this friendship happened.

Shawn
So it's funny actually, we met in the gym. So we were actually working out we both are from Brooklyn, New York. I was working out he was working out and we just looked super stressed. So I just came up to him. I don't know it was the other way around. And we asked each other we're like, Hey, what's going on? Everything's good. And he's like, Yeah, I'm studying for the MCAT. And I'm like, Oh, me too. And then that's sort of where it clicked off. And then we just started talking about medicine, the different fields and our interest in it. And that sort of way sprung into, and then we started working out regularly together. And then it just became pretty much a great friendship and bond.

Brooke Smith
How long have you guys known each other now?

Shawn
Approximately two years? Two to three.

Brooke Smith
Oh, you're both from Brooklyn, New York. And did you say did you meet in Brooklyn.

Shawn
So we did meet about when it was actually a Planet Fitness gym. We were just working out and then just like, you get that vibe, you know, when you could tell another person's in medicine and I just saw him and I'm like, Hey, are you alright? Everything's okay. And then I looked pretty stressed out too. And then it ended up being the same exact thing that we're doing. We're studying for the MCAT together.

Brooke Smith
Wow. Okay, so Shawn, are you you're already you're an MS one right now. Right?

Shawn
Correct. Correct. So it's a little bit different for Podiatry. So we call it P1. So pediatric medicine is really super specific. It's like we already basically get to choose what our specialty is. And we go straight into

Brooke Smith
your specialty is foot and ankle surgery. Right? And that's why you're in Chicago right now?

Shawn
Correct. So I'm right now in Chicago, I just moved in. It's been like three days. We got it all together. It's looking a little homey in here. But yeah, that's why I'm in Chicago right now. Did the whole application process I did it this year, and then beginning around February or March, there was an early decision. I interviewed at a bunch of Podiatry schools and checked it out to see which one fits me best? And yeah, so I just got here. It's been three days. And I'm looking forward to it. I started classes in about a week. I have an orientation week ahead of me too. So I'm really excited for that.

Brooke Smith
Awesome. Okay. And Rob, what about you? You obviously have applied to medical school, and you're gonna get ready to go as well. Where are you going?

Murad
Yeah. So I'm going to be attending SUNY Downstate, in Brooklyn. And similar to similar to Shawn, I also applied to early decision program, and things works a little bit differently for SUNY, downstate the program that I got in, it's, it's basically conditionally accepted for the next upcoming medical class, which starts in August. And, and, you know, as part of the program, I have to do two summers of basic courses to prepare me for for the for the medical school. So I already did first part. Last week, I actually completed it, and I had the next well, I have a gap in between. And then next summer, I'll be doing another one month of pre course. And then I'll start med school.

Brooke Smith
I didn't know that. I didn't know there were like pre courses before you went, That's cool. But the MCAT is out of the way we did that, we passed everything was fine? I heard it's like an eight hour test. Right? It's a long one.

Murad
It's it's it's eight hours. It's exhausting. On top of that, you have to you have to prepare for it. So you're basically doing a lot of eight hour exams constantly. And then it takes a lot. It takes a lot.

Brooke Smith
Did you both only had to do the MCAT once or did you have to take it more than one time?

Shawn
Just once with me

Murad
once as well. Yeah,

Brooke Smith
that's awesome. Okay, so So, Shawn, we know your speciality Murad, you don't know what you're going to be doing yet. You're kind of still trying to decide, Do you have any idea of a direction that you want to go? Are you still just really keeping it ambiguous at this time?

Murad
I mean, I have a little bit of sense of direction where I think I might be going to sports medicine. So I love sports I've been playing soccer for for a while now. And, you know, obviously, I love medicine. So I looked into sports medicine, that's something that I really like. But I have to, I have to do more. I have to, you know, shadow and find out what exactly, it comes with. And and then I will see, but for now, I have sports medicine in mind. I also love internal medicine as well. So those are two things that, you know, I'm looking into, as of now.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I saw that you're an avid soccer player and also into karate, right? I saw you had a belt of some kind. So tell us a little bit about your soccer journey. And you've been doing that your whole life.

Murad
Yes, soccer I've been I've been playing for for a long time ever since I was a little kid. But I started playing soccer seriously, when I came here, around like 2011. And I'm part of a team here in Brooklyn local team. And I've been part of the team for about seven years. And we are we are playing semi professional, which is like, fourth or fifth division here in the US. So we were going to start well, this season is already rolling. So I'm currently playing every weekend. I've had the pleasure to get in the team as well since 2020. So it's been going really well. And I'm very, I'm very happy.

Brooke Smith
I love that. And Shawn for you, I noticed that you're EMS. And so can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in that and how long you did that for. So

Shawn
I started the Emergency Medical Technician classes. Actually, while I was in high school in my senior year, I was 17 at the time, and I went ahead I took the course, pass it, I think I was like the second youngest in my class because you had to be 18 to get certified. So as soon as the exam rolled out, it was actually two days after my birthday. So I was able to get certified and be able to work as an EMT. And then since then, I've been working for about five years now, with a great unit in the city. It's nonprofit. And basically we do free work. Basically, it's works with a fundraiser, basically. So basically, private people basically funded but we don't charge our patients anything. So it was five years of basically volunteering, and not taking a penny from patients. So that really stood out to me. And I always sort of had an interest in emergency medicine and stuff. So it also sparked that up. And then from that I was able to Gateway more opportunities. I worked also as a medical director at one of the summer camps consecutively for two, three years. And so it's been a great journey with that. But it's time to put the uniform down for the scrubs on there.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I loved all those pictures I saw on social I'll be wearing in the department, all that kind of behind the scenes of what you guys do. It's really awesome. I wonder, this is a question for both of you. What drew you to medicine? Was there a moment in your life that you like knew I want to help people I want to get into healthcare? Or what what kind of drew you to this was Did something happen? Or did you always know? Or did you try a different path and then decide no, actually, this is where I want to go, I'd love to just hear about each of your journeys into finding this career path.

Shawn
So basically, for me, I grew up in Pakistan, actually for about 12 years of my life. So it was very apparent to me, the the foot and ankle dysmorphia that goes on over there, the diabetic population and the non conservative approaches and high rates of amputations. And so that sort of influenced me right away, I would see kids my age that were young, and you know, disabil, and to be able to sort of drill me, by the way, that, you know, this is my focus, and this is what I wanted to do. And as I came to America and learned all the other different medical fields, and it just really always stood out to me to be able to, you know, help somebody walk again or feel comfortable again, or it's one of those great medical fields are sort of like hidden, like a hidden gem, basically, I'd say. So we get to basically be professional at all levels when it comes to a foot and ankle. So it can be something like No, no problem, then you're you got to put on your neuro hat for that day and be a neurologist for the foot and ankle. If it's a DERM problem, you're going to be a dermatologist for that day from the foot and ankle. If it's a surgical problems, you're going to be a surgeon that day for the foot and ankle. So it's really great. I basically get to sort of get all of the specialties together and at the same time focus into what I really like to do, which is the foot and ankle bones and the humans.

Brooke Smith
I know that you know, our feet take us everywhere, right? They take us everywhere. We want to go from the time that we're born and learn how to walk to the very last of our days. I mean, it's actually really beautiful when you think about your feet. I know it's kind of strange, but I think about this these kinds of things sometimes and I'm like wow, like think about all the places and all the things As my, my feet have taken me places I didn't want to go when I was scared that I showed up for it anyway, you know, and it's just I don't know something about that is just really beautiful to me. And um, and I know that if your feet don't work, if you're having any kind of bone problems in your feet, or ankles or nail problems, there's so many things that can go wrong and your feet because the bones are so small, that it can really affect your, you know, your day, your day to day life and your ability to exercise and just your ability to be mobile. So I think it's a really, really important thing when you're doing that for you. What about you? What, what's your use of medicine, what's your kind of story of how you got here, I know, probably being being playing soccer and sports medicine and stuff, maybe inspired that, but I'd love to hear.

Murad
So for me, it's it's not been a single experience, but rather, there's been different string of experiences that brought me into medicine. So again, I also grew up, I grew up in Bangladesh, for about, similar to

Shawn
, about 1012 years. And early on, I grew up in the rural area, where medicine was, I mean, there was no modern medicine, they didn't even have a clinic, and it was pretty far away. So if you're poor over there, access to medicine is very difficult. So my uncle, he was he was a lawyer at that time, and he wanted to help the local community. So he spent money out of his pocket and did a lot of nonprofit to bring clinics, doctors in our area to help the poor population. And that kind of really inspired me to do the same. I wasn't interested in law, but I love sciences, I loved medicine. At the time, I didn't really know medicine, I just love science is asking a lot of questions. And so my uncle, really, you know, he told me about why don't you try medicine, and in the future. So that's, that's like the naive interest that I had early on. And then ever since that I really didn't look into anything, anything else besides medicine. So you know, I came to us, I started pursuing a career in medicine, I started doing science classes majoring in Biochemistry, eventually in college, and shadowing, and doing all this other experiences that really made me learn more about more about what medicine is really about, as well as, you know, likely and more, getting deeper interest. But what really, it was like, the last thing that really inspired me was that I had a close person who was diagnosed with cancer. And that experience really showed me what medicine is about, because I've got to have a first hand experience of visiting the clinic with them, seeing the suffering that they have to go to, but also seeing the hope that medicine can bring the hope that a good doctor can bring. And that's something that I wanted to emulate as well, being a physician.

Brooke Smith
Wow, that's really beautiful. I, I wonder just coming from somewhere else, both of you coming from somewhere else and seeing our healthcare system here, I'm sure that there's a lot you could see. And as you get into your future careers more, a lot of probably changes that we do a lot of things wrong here as far as the ability that we have to give people health and health care and access to it. But you know, a lot medicine for profit is a big thing here. Whereas I feel like in other places it the profit isn't the driving force, the driving force is actually trying to help people and make them better, because there's already so much suffering. Do you guys have any thoughts on on that?

Murad
Absolutely. I 100% agree, I think that medicine here, you know, has a lot of gaps. And it needs to be addressed. And as a physician, I know that we are the leader will be a leader to to you know, to be the voice for those that are in need, especially the poor population here that really don't have much access to medicine. Even though you know, medicine, we will even though it's in the US, we think that the have the best health care and all but it's not accessible to everyone. So that's something that I'm really looking into, you know, helping in the future. And I am going to also in on top of doing medicine, MD I'm also going to stay mph, which is a Master of Public Health. It's something that I think, you know, it's gonna provide me with love and knowledge that I need to help with the the gap that exists in medicine. Yeah, absolutely

Shawn
I agree with Murad. I feel like there's definitely a lot of disparities gaps in medicine. And I feel like we definitely need a more diverse healthcare population in order to fill that gap in and reach out to you know, different communities, different type of people to be able to relate to them, not just add on on, like, a level of, you know, knowing or being from the same background, but actually understanding and comprehending the different aspects and being able to relate to that, while respecting boundaries.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, and I think there's a lot to be said for like preventative medicine as well. If people just don't have the education and knowledge that, you know, something can be preventable, when they keep doing something that's actually hurting their bodies. You know, preventive medicine, we talk a little bit about that. But if you guys ever do any kind of medical mission, work, go anywhere to do anything like that, I just want you to know, you can always reach out to us because we love donating medical equipment, a lot of times people will take a bunch of equipment over to other places to more rural areas who don't have the medical equipment, they need to just do basic diagnostic things to find out, you know, blood pressure and all that. But I'm in a lot of times, though, we'll leave it over there. So the people that are still there, the healthcare workers over there can have medical equipment to be able to just even do basic care for other people.

Murad
It's an amazing initiative, I would definitely love to be part of it.

Brooke Smith
So I want to get to know you guys a little bit. Obviously, you both workout, because that's how this, this friendship happened. You're obviously both into like, keep fit, fitness and staying healthy. What other kinds of things do you guys like to do for fun because I know, being in medical school, podiatry school, doing all of that is not easy, it takes a lot of your time. So I'd love to just hear kind of like, what that balance is going to look like for you and what your plans are, and how to kind of manage your time and other things you'd like to do aside from medicine, other hobbies and passions.

Shawn
Sadly, mine are also all a little based around fitness, because I feel like for me, it's just, it's an it's a quick escape, you know, whether it be a 30 minute 45 minute workout, or I try, I tried doing different stuff, it's not always just weightlifting, I, you know, I try to get into this kind of sports fishing, I'm gonna actually try go for the first time now, being that I'm in Chicago, and got a little bit more space over here in New York. So I'm gonna go ahead and try that too. But yeah, I'm really into outdoorsy kind of stuff, kayaking, and all that different stuff, which is also going to be a little harder being the high management of being a medical student, and trying to balance that, but I'd say the number one thing is trying to find that balance, I feel like that's super important. stick on to the things that you really love and like to do, because you don't want to let go with that, because that's when it started gets like imbalanced, see, then you'll realize that you're getting exhausted faster, or you're draining too much time into a certain aspect. So try to balance everything out as hard as it sounds, it could be done too.

Murad
I think that I agreemore with Sean 100%. There's, there's things that that you love, and you need to continue to do that to stay sane. So what I like to do, obviously, besides medicine, I love I love playing soccer. I also do other sports I do to jitsu as well. Recently, I put a stop to that, you know, injured myself doing that. So I had to relax a little bit. Again, Shawn is studying ankle and, and, you know, put an ankle, hopefully will help me in the future. Yeah, and besides that, I love reading. I've been reading a lot of books over the summer had a little bit of free time, as well as just hanging out with my friends. So how I like to manage my things is that there are certain things that I said as non negotiables such as taking care of yourself, you know, working out, setting it, setting aside time to socialize, you know, go out with your friends. These are things that I said as non negotiables. You know, I would always make sure that I have time for those. And you do have time for those 30 minutes, 20 minutes, you know, it doesn't have to be four or five hours. Besides studying, you can always set time to take care of yourself. And, and that's how I've been doing it for for you know, last couple of years. And and you know, I feel amazing. I feel great.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, it's really great advice. I think balance is always key being over here. I'm a big dancer, yoga person. And I have to remind you guys who are always doing the heavy lifting at the gym, that stretching is very important. Okay, you gotta keep yeah,

Murad
I've definitely I've been I've been doing yoga for a while now actually, I really enjoy it. I do it about once or twice a week. Not the best at it. But again, you know, because I play soccer with the team. It's kind of mandatory for me to do it. But it helps me with mobility and feel so much good for so much good after. Yeah,

Brooke Smith
if you haven't tried you should try hot yoga. It's It's amazing. It's in 103 degree room if you can pay with it and a little bit of humidity but it's definitely kind of feels like a detox or workout stretching and therapy all in one thing because it's just like it's yoga. You know, it's It's pretty awesome. But yeah, stretching is important that I always have to remind the gym guys like, Hey, guys, make sure you're touching your toes still, because, you know, we gotta keep the mobility going. You know,

Shawn
I can't speak on that because I need to do more of that. You guys

Murad
well was doing jujitsu, they they really made sure they were flexible. Because you you're you get into such weird positions that it's like, if you're not flexible, you're going to like literally fall it's insane. It's It's insane.

Brooke Smith
Yeah. Yeah, I imagine you're probably a little doing more flexibility movement than Shawn. So I guess

Shawn
is the one we're on. We got to make sure Shawn stretching.

Shawn
Guys, send me your workout plans.

Brooke Smith
How did you guys how did you guys come across MDF? Instruments? I'm so curious. How'd you find us?

Shawn
I have a great story for this. So actually, the first stethocope that I did get from my class was at MDF stethoscope. So that's what I got when I was doing my EMS course. So that was sort of like the finish line. They give you all the equipment and stuff with the course. So that's what they gave me. And I still have that stethoscope to this day. Because I've sort of been using it I sort of ended on my wall when I was actually studying for the MCAT and all that stuff. And I even bought it here with me to Chicago actually. So yeah, it's been super reliable. I use it in emergency medical services. So you can imagine that some of the serious situations that we get into, we have to listen to lung sounds are at higher rates or blood pressure. And it's been it's not a problem for me. I put it at the top notch. But one of the other equipments that are out there. Yeah,

Murad
yeah. First time I actually learned about it was Shawn, which was telling me about his EMT, he told me about MDF, how amazing they were he's like, bro, check this out. There's so may even have social media page and whatnot. So that's, that's when I learned about it. And I got to have one of those one of one of the stethoscope as well. And I loved it. And so that's how I found out about MDM. So me and Sean, we are planning to start a partnership in the future in social media, where we want to help other pre med students that are in you know the DPM or MD or to track any medical track that needs help guidance, mentorship, whatever you call it. And we're gonna do different things, such as, you know, events, mentorship, q&a is different social media events to help them out. So that's, that's where we're currently working on that right now.

Shawn
Yeah, and I also feel it's important that we're gonna go over a lot of the interprofessional practices and stuff in medicine, because you don't really see collaborations like approaches and someone who's doing a MD that something like somebody does in the long run if you work in a multi specialty group or something like that. So yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, me and Murad could end up working together if he goes into like, specific fields, like sports medicine, or orthopedics. And, yeah, it's crazy how you can make these connections at a very young time, and be able to steer that into the direction you want to,

Brooke Smith
please keep us in mind too, for anything you guys ever need. You want to do giveaways or, you know, do more podcasts as you guys get further down along in your journey, if you guys start doing something like that, and I'm happy to get you back on to talk about, you know, whatever you're doing to help other students and other people who are getting into the medical field. But that does remind me I do have a question for you guys. One other question. If you could tell your, your younger self anything, like give your younger self some advice for what you know, now what, what would it be?

Shawn
I'd say, keep going. Because you don't know where life is gonna steer you. So I feel like definitely, definitely to keep going forward. If it was short and sweet to just keep going. That's it. Because I feel like a lot of us give up on our hopes, our dreams and stuff a little too early, or we feel a little unaccomplished, or we feel like, oh, we can't reach that goal or that milestone that we really want to, but I feel like those two words keep going. I feel like that really sticks to a person and you can always you hang on that utilize that. And yeah, I'd say I'd say keep going.

Murad
Yeah, it' amazing advice. I would, I would say, to my younger self, to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. What that means is, I was always a shy person. As you know, in high school, I didn't like public public speaking, even presenting classes to get me nervous. And and, you know, something that I learned is being comfortable or uncomfortable situation really helps someone grow. And that's one of the biggest advice that I can give myself.

Brooke Smith
It's so true to like, we grow so much by going outside our comfort zones, and then we're so we're capable of so much more than we ever even thought we were and perseverance. I mean, not giving up because you never know how close you are. Someone told me is one time they're like, imagine that there is it's just kind of weird, but but just roll with me for a second is it imagine there's a spider crawling across the ceiling, right? And it's going all the way across the ceiling and it gets it's so close to the end. It's so close, but it doesn't know that it is because it can't see the end. It just turns around and goes back. But it was like this close to being you know, across the ceiling. It's kind of one of those things where you never know how close you are until you're at the finish line sometimes. So you got to keep going and keep persevering through all the hardships that you face. I think it's really great advice. It's been such a pleasure having you guys on the podcast. Can you please give your social media handles for everyone listening and watching who wants to come follow your journey? Maybe get some more advice and talk to you more later.

Shawn
Absolutely. So my instagram handle is at Shawn ankles a SHAWNANKLES. Thank you guys.

Murad
And my instagram handle is @muradrazzak_11 so that's MURADRAZZAK_11 Thank you so much.

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