Name: Sharlay Butler
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
School(s) attended: Treasure Valley Community College, Midland University, University of Washington School of Medicine

Specialty currently interested in: General Pediatrics, Sports Medicine

What experiences did you have to make sure that medicine is right for you?
Summer Medical and Dental Education Program
University of Nebraska Medical Center, Protein Structure Core Facility-Summer Undergraduate Research Program
University of Richmond Summer MCAT Prep program
Fremont Area Medical Center Emergency room Volunteer

Describe any obstacles or barriers to success that you have encountered along your path towards a health career. How did you overcome them? Or if they are still ongoing, what strategies do you use to help you stay focused and balanced?
I grew up on the Coeur d’ Alene reservation in Northern Idaho. My mother was a single parent raising three children on government assistance and in low income housing. I took on a lot of parental responsibility for my younger siblings as my mother worked and attended night school. Drug, alcohol, prison, and physical abuse tore apart my family and still consumes many members of my family; both immediate and extended. It wasn’t always easy finding the right avenues to follow or seek relief from the chaos of at home. At one point in high school, my family and I transitioned housing in shelters, cars, motels, and a camper.
My answer to overcoming all of the barriers in my life was my passion for basketball. It was a blessing to be able to focus on running, jumping, and shooting instead of my stresses at home. I knew basketball could take me to college and open up unimaginable opportunities. Basketball taught me perseverance and resilience in the face of obstacles. From my years of playing, I learned to sacrifice for a goal long before I am able to see the pay-off. It has helped me develop humility and confidence to bounce back after failure. But the most important skill that basketball taught me is that hard work is the key to beating any circumstance. In short, basketball has been an important first step on a path to college and from college to medical school. It has allowed me to shatter mediocre expectations and aspire to a future beyond my first beginnings.

What do you feel are critical health care issues for your community right now?
Mistrust in physicians and receiving equal care. Access to multiple clinics, hospitals, and specialty clinics. Confusion over insurance plans and coverage. Preventative health measures such as weight control issues, diabetes, heart and cholesterol health, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

Finally, any advice or words of inspiration for our young people coming up behind you?
HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF! This path can be rough and confidence shaking but it’s worth every step. Be proud of who you are and what made you into the resilient, persistent person you’ve become. I believe your heart is just as important as your mind in medicine so remember to lead with both on your path to physician hood. See you when you get here!

CEDI 2015