Years ago, my journey in medicine began, for I have wanted to become a physician since the age of ten. It was my desire to heal everybody. My father, having suffered from diabetes from a rather young age, often joked with me by saying that I will one day be a ‘human body repair man’.
In my thirty-seven years as a physician – first in academic medicine and then in clinical medicine – I have had the profound honor and privilege of touching countless lives. Now, however, I am embarking upon my second journey – addressing issues surrounding mental health. During the years of carefully tending to the nuances of the human body, I became intensely aware of the body and brain connection. I understood and experienced the complexity of the brain and the pivotal role that mental health plays in our physical well being. Additionally, I have observed the painful, pervasive struggle of patients with mental illness from stigma, limited access to care and inadequate insurance coverage.
Nothing less than my own personal experience with panic disorder and my challenge to improve my own mental well-being could have had a more significant influence on my next journey to help others with their own mental health. At age forty, I suffered my first major panic attack, yet upon reflection, now I truly know I had plenty of lesser ones since childhood. After several months of drug treatment, I intensified my physical exercise and set my sights on running as part of my treatment. Within a few short months, I ran my first marathon and have run many others since. I now know that running has saved my life!
Thus, with all this in mind, I am now embarking upon my next mission to help make this world a better place for those suffering with mental illness. I hope to increase awareness, address the staggering shortage of affordable care, emphasize the importance of wellness in mental health, fund research, and focus on under served groups such as veterans, minorities and those suffering from addiction.
I hope you are willing to join me on my mission. To make an impact in society is not easy, but can be done. One person cannot do it alone, but one can take the first step to lead the way. So please join me, your effort will help create a measurable positive change.
Thank you in advance.
-Adel B. Korkor, M.D.