After a highly selective process, I was given the opportunity to participate in the LeaderShape Institute through the University of Cincinnati’s Honors Program. I spent the final week of my winter break in West Harrison, IN with 59 other honors students, all focused on leadership. Going into it, I didn't know much other than this and I soon found out it would entail so much more.
The institute's main goal was to help us in creating a comprehensive and powerful vision for the future, and yet, during this six day retreat, the sense of family and wholeness that was built between 60 strangers was what truly opened my eyes to what was possible. We hadn't realized it, but through making ourselves vulnerable and embracing each other's values and backgrounds, we had created such a trusting and empowering environment. I felt that with those 59 friends by my side, we could accomplish anything.
Through the program, I discovered I was passionate about a world where everyone could recieve the best quality of medical care possible. One of the ideas I came up with to pursue this was tied to my heritage as a Turkish American. The last time I visited Turkey, I needed medical care and although the care was provided by the government at no cost to me, I recieved an overly invasive surgery compared to a simpler procedure that I could have recieved in a more advanced hospital.
I am truly grateful to the doctor who carried out the procedure and cannot complain about free medical care. However, I recognized that there is obviously a gap in medical advancement between my two countries. I saw first hand that free medical care for all didn't work as well as one might think, and I started thinking of alternatives.
Initially, I had discounted the idea of privatizing the medical industry of Turkey. It has become ingrained in our heads that capitalism is simply greed and money hunger. However one of the biggest take aways I got from LeaderShape was to be open to different viewpoints and be willing to approach problems from a different angle. We watched an inspiring video about Dr. V and his cataract surgeries in India, and this is what showed me that perhaps capitalism didn't have to be so "greedy."
With this, I came up with a "future headline" (pictured) that I would like to see: reintegrate private business into the medical industry of Turkey. Currently, private clinics aren't as supported as they should be, and government hospitals are free, yet inconvenient, for many people. By allowing care providers to compete for patients with their quality of care and medical technology, yet still providing great assistance to those who may not be able to afford it, I planned to improve quality of care in Turkey. This model could even be integrated into many other countries
LeaderShape allowed me to focus on myself and what I value in order to discover what I want to change about the world. Along the way, I have made so many genuine connections and I feel both my interpersonal and intrapersonal skills have improved so much in a matter of six days. The retreat was absolutely life changing and I can't wait to put the things I learned and the plans I made into action.
- Woodrow Wilson