Meet the Board: Joanna Tomaszewski

Dear all-- My name is Joanna and I am the co-founder of SPAPP and this year's "Lives in Medicine" co- chair. The origins of SPAPP stem from an identified need in our community: the need for increased mentorship, guidance and opportunity for students pursuing careers in health care. The goal of our organization and this year's inaugural conference is to provide just that. As a participant, you will be exposed to diverse workshops and lectures, to various local medical organizations and institutions (including medical colleges, physician's assistant schools, volunteer organizations, EMT programs, and more), and to pairing during a mentorship lunch with established medical professionals, residents and students. Let us help you navigate which career path is right for you and let yourself become inspired to be the professional you seek to become.

My journey in Polonia and in medicine began early on. It was not until my undergraduate career, however, that I found a way to integrate the two. I found a focal point in my work with CommunityHealth Clinic, where I have been a Polish medical interpreter for Chicago's underserved for 5 years as well as with Amber Coalition, where I have volunteered to increase awareness about breast cancer to Chicago's Polonia community. These experiences are what led me to pursue the vision of SPAPP. 

Having completed a B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University and currently pursuing research in a craniofacial biology laboratory at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, I stress the importance of innovation and biomedical research for the advancement of medicine. At the same time, my clinical experiences have shown me how vital "the human touch" is. In an intriguing talk titled, "A Doctor's Touch," Adbraham Verghese discusses the importance of a doctor's physical contact to the treatment of patients. "Patients are not 'ipatients'. They need to be touched, they need to be seen, they need to be listened to." I plan to dedicate my future to finding a balance between the two aspects of medicine,- innovation and human compassion- about which I am most passionate and without which medicine cannot reach its full potential. See his talk here: Abraham Verghese: A doctor's touch.

Agatha Kielczewski