Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Tristan Jafari

Mary Gates Leadership Scholar, Autumn 2023 and Winter 2024

Leadership Project: University of Washington Emergency Medical Services

Project Description: I am working within an interdisciplinary team to lead and found the University of Washington Emergency Medical Services (UWEMS), a student initiative to enhance emergency medical response system on the UW Seattle campus. UWEMS aims to allow trained student responders to co-respond with the Seattle Fire Department to medical emergencies at the UW. The mission of this work is to improve the well-being of the university community by reducing response times to emergencies and address high rates of mental health and substance use incident with empathy and peer support. UWEMS also offers free CPR/AED and overdose response training to the community.

What have you learned throughout your leadership project?

I have gained invaluable insights into the power of peer support, effective communication, collaboration, and team management. Advocating for the initiative within the university and with external stakeholders has enhanced my understanding of policy-making processes and the importance of evidence-based advocacy in medicine. This experience has been profoundly educational, providing hands-on leadership and operational experience, and reinforcing my aspirations to pursuing a career in medicine, potentially in emergency medicine.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Choose a project you are passionate about that addresses a real problem. Your genuine interest will shine through and keep you focused on your goals. As long as your “Why’s” are clear, the “How’s” will work out. Also, don’t be afraid to think ambitiously. Big problems require big solutions, which often require bold visions!