Five billion people in the world do not have access to safe surgery, and I want to change that.
The death of her father from a heart attack, along with the high rate of heart disease in her home country, is driving an Epworth medical student to become a cardiologist.
Sarah Valerie is one of 19 medical students from University of Melbourne undertaking training at Epworth Clinical School.
The Mauritian-born student lost her father to heart attack while she was studying and she has seen many other people die from cardiovascular disease.
“My dad passed away during my bachelor’s degree,” Ms Valerie said. “My country, Mauritius, also suffers so much from health issues, despite the health system being free. Eighty per cent of deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases and I have seen people suffer and die, while I was growing up.”
White coat ceremony
Sarah and her fellow students were presented with white coats, in a traditional ceremony to symbolise the transition from study into clinical (on-the-job) training.
“The white coat is symbolic that we entrust our patients to you,” said Dr Lachlan Henderson, Group Chief Executive Epworth HealthCare
“Our purpose at Epworth is every patient matters. Every decision I make, I think about how it impacts on patients and their families.”
Dr Luis Prado, Chief Medical Officer, added that students would have direct access to some of the best clinicians in their fields, who taught students on a voluntary basis.
Our medical students will be part of the Epworth family for next three years, until graduation. Many come back to work at Epworth and one day, they themselves will teach future generations.
Ms Valerie says the white coat ceremony was an honour.
“My mother was so proud. The day I bought my stethoscope and the day I was presented with the white coat – they are milestones in not just my career, but in my life and the lives of those around me.”
Driving change in healthcare
The medical student hopes to help drive change to healthcare around the world throughout her career.
“Five billion people in the world do not have access to safe surgery and I want to change that.”
Image: Dr Lachlan Henderson, Epworth Group Chief Executive, Sarah Valerie and Dr Luis Prado, Chief Medical Officer.