My name is Annika Daya, and I'm currently a fourth year medical student at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania graduating in May 2024 with my Doctor of Medicine. I am planning on applying to Neurology residency. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, pursued my Bachelor's in Science in Neuroscience and simultaneously completed my Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2020.
As I reflect on my experiences as a medical student over the past three years, as well as past opportunities involved in global healthcare, I’ve had the opportunity to develop and cultivate skills focused on providing equitable care for and compassion towards patients and caregivers I’ve worked with. In May of 2018, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Lusaka, Zambia in Africa and work with a non-profit organization called Appropriate Paper Technology (APTERS). This group creates mobility aids made from papier-mâché of local newspapers and cardboard for children with cerebral palsy. While working with this group, I gained insights into the disparities that underserved, rural areas face with little access to treatments and physicians. While I was able to assist in the production of these aids as well as help with publicizing the services they offer, I gained the perspective that a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients involves critical thinking and an understanding of the relationship between public health and medicine.
In March of 2023, I had the opportunity to complete an international neurology rotation at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. Excited to return to Zambia after 5 years and be immersed in the daily life of a Zambian, I learned not only how the health system functions in a country with limited access to neurological care, but also understood the importance of cultural integration when fostering strong rapport with patients and their families.
I am tremendously grateful to have had various opportunities to experience the challenges and rewards that come with working with patients and families in the healthcare setting. Especially in such a diverse setting, I learned the importance of cultural awareness when providing care for complex and potentially stigmatized illnesses. I am interested in pursuing global mission work in healthcare and within the field of Neurology as a future physician, and I aim to work with underserved populations both domestically and internationally.