Health Equity Challenge Finalist Mohammad Khorgamphar

Remember, never give up — your voice resonates with power, and you possess the capability to make the world a better place and create a brighter tomorrow.

There is a Farsi poem that resonates deeply with me, conveying the message: “Do you know why God gave you two hands? It is so you can use one to tend to your own needs and the other to assist others.” This ethos of service and support was instilled in me by my grandfather, a figure of resilience and dedication. Despite being exiled to the northern regions of Iran due to his Kurdish heritage, he remained committed to his community, serving as an experimental doctor under difficult conditions.

My name is Mohammad Khorgamphar, and I am currently pursuing a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management at UCLA and in my second year. My interests include cycling, hiking, traveling, and spending time in the hospital. This preference might seem unusual, but as an aspiring physician and public health professional, I find immense satisfaction in aiding and healing others. Listening attentively to my patients and providing support during their illness is deeply fulfilling to me. I believe strongly in the power of communication, which enhances my interactions with patients. Although not yet fluent, I enjoy engaging in Spanish, often greeting my patients with “Hola, soy Mohammad, ¿cómo estás?” while I am also proficient in Farsi, which allows me to connect effectively with Iranian patients.

I am not yet a doctor, but my passion for medicine and assisting medical professionals is unwavering, and I am dedicated to working hard towards the day I become a doctor. I deeply admire how doctors and other health care professionals have sacrificed their well-being to serve and save lives, a fact underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. While being a doctor is rewarding and offers the opportunity to save many lives, I believe that advocacy and policymaking can impact and potentially save even more lives. This is why I am driven not only to become a doctor but also a public health professional dedicated to serving and assisting my community. This passion has been with me since childhood, inspired by my grandfather. Growing up in a city with limited access to care, I witnessed firsthand the challenges my family and loved ones faced in receiving care due to financial barriers, limited access, and inadequate quality of health care.

These experiences and challenges have profoundly shaped my identity and my resolve. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where my passion for community service was further fueled. During my tenure, I became acutely aware of the vast disparities and challenges within our health care system. Alarmed by the high rates of infant mortality among African Americans, I chose to address this pressing issue. Infant mortality not only reflects on community health but also gauges the efficacy of our health care system. The heart-wrenching stories from patients and parents who suffered the loss of their infants or even maternal fatalities during childbirth compelled me to tackle this critical disparity with urgency.

“Growing up in a city with limited access to care, I witnessed firsthand the challenges my family and loved ones faced in receiving care due to financial barriers, limited access, and inadequate quality of health care. These experiences and challenges have profoundly shaped my identity and my resolve.”

My project focuses on using education to inform expectant and new mothers about their health care rights and how to access adequate care. I am honored to have partnered with M.O.R.E. Mothers, a community-based organization renowned for its dedication to bridging the gap for mothers in historically marginalized communities.

The journey towards the UCLA Health Equity Challenge has been enriching; I have learned extensively from the center staff, my community-based organization, and numerous passionate and dedicated individuals from the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Fielding School of Public Health. I am immensely grateful for their support, and their valuable insights and knowledge have been instrumental in advancing this endeavor.

Before concluding my blog, I would like to share some reflections on life. Your voice is crucial; it has the power to reform systems and enhance them, but only if you believe in the beauty of your dreams and dedicate yourself to transforming those dreams into tangible goals and changes. Life will undoubtedly present numerous challenges, failures, and rejections. What is essential, however, is how you respond: you can either give up or rise stronger and advocate even more vigorously for your goals.

Photo:
(1) Los Angeles City Council meeting

The accompanying image captures my first experience speaking at a Los Angeles City Council meeting, illustrating the impact of using one’s voice. If you perceive injustices or areas needing improvement and feel passionate about these issues, I urge you to speak out and advocate for change. While we cannot predict the outcomes, I am confident that by believing in ourselves and relentlessly pursuing change, we can indeed transform the world into a better place.

Remember, never give up — your voice resonates with power, and you possess the capability to make the world a better place and create a brighter tomorrow.

Mohammad Khorgamphar headshot


By
Mohammad Khorgamphar
2024 Health Equity Challenge Finalist
Mohammad Khorgamphar is a second-year Master of Public Health candidate with a concentration in Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. As an aspiring physician and public health professional, Khorgamphar is dedicated to improving the quality of patient-centered care and optimizing the utilization of public health resources.

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