Student Spotlight: Stacy Songco
Part of LACMA’s diversity comes from the fact that we have members at every stage in their career – from first year med students to our experienced, retired doctors. This gives LACMA a special perspective as an organization trying to meet the different needs of those just starting out and those at the end of their career. And we love hearing from our members. We’re using our Physician, Resident and Student Spotlights to ask members why they got into medicine and what excites them about their work.
This week we have the pleasure of introducing you to Stacy Songco, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 3rd Year & UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, 1st Year & LACMA Board Medical Student Councilor. She shared with us the moving story of how she found her calling to become a doctor.
It was not until college when I recognized that medicine was my calling. Two major events occurred in my life that drew me to the art and science of this field. During my freshman year of college, my dearest friend made the difficult decision to abort her only pregnancy. She was left to navigate the health care system let alone secure health insurance and seek the medical care she needed as a college student away from home. Her experience as a patient impacted my vision of a physician’s role in this context. Through the lens of a clinician, I desired to become an advocate for my patients and empower them to strive for their right to basic but quality health care. My friend ultimately received the medical attention she needed; however, like many patients, she was uninsured, faced with financial limitations, and struggled to access public transportation. Because of her experience, I decided to use my academic training as a biology and sociology major at UC Berkeley to comprehend the underpinnings of medicine and understand the societal factors that determine how patients access the best health care they can possibly achieve.
A year after, my father suffered from septic shock that placed him in a coma. Hundreds of miles away, I had to make frequent trips back to Los Angeles to support my family and find solace amidst this incident. However, as working-class Filipino immigrants with basic knowledge and understanding of English, neither my mother nor any of my family members fathomed the etiology and mechanism of his illness. To this day, it is still uncertain how his septic shock transpired. I found resolution to this life event by choosing to become a physician so that others do not have to live with unresolved answers to their illnesses or those of their loved ones. Becoming the best physician that I can be meant having a foundational understanding of medicine, but most importantly, utilizing the art of active listening to my patients’ needs and articulating their disease condition to them with integrity and professionalism.
During my time in medical school, I have considered different specialties, but none that fits my core values as well as primary care. I hope to become a family or internal medicine physician with a component of psychiatry. However, I understand that I should keep my options open should my clinical rotations guide me toward another specialty. In addition to my path to medicine is my strong interest in health policy. I am currently pursuing my master’s in public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs to acquire a skill set that would afford me the opportunity to influence the political environment for health care reform. During this process to achieve my goals, I have been fortunate to be involved in organized medicine through LACMA, CMA, and AMA and mentored by talented physicians who are passionate about the well-being of their patients and bettering the medical profession. My strong interest in diversifying the physician workforce will also guide my work as I advocate for changing the landscape of physician practice.