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Hi I'm Alana

I'm a mother, an MD/PhD student, a crazy indoor gardener, I love the rain and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up in Portland, Oregon during the advent of multi-cultural education there. This really shaped my identity because I felt not just accepted or comfortable as a person of multi-racial/-ethnic identity, but really proud to have a Japanese mother from Hawaii and a Creole/Florida Seminole father from Watts. I had a hunger to learn about my own cultures and to become fluent in languages that would allow me to work for the United Nations one day. I prayed about where to go after high school and I was blessed to be accepted to Yale College, where I fell in love with cold New England weather, Cultural Anthropology and learned more about all of my ethnic heritages. I also honed my Japanese, Russian and French language skills and it was on a summer language program in Japan that I learned of Heavenly Father's plan for me to become a physician/scientist. I avoided this calling for many years, instead I worked in Moscow, where I had lived as an exchange student in high school, I managed an internet start-up company and then finally, I realized that I needed to do what He wanted. So, I prayed for help because I was certain I couldn't do it alone, and He immediately opened every door. As much as I thought I knew about life, I didn't realize how much happier I would be in medicine. Now I am finishing my PhD and I will soon return to the last two years of medical school. Next up Neurosurgery!

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because when I needed Heavenly Father's direction the most, He led me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I remember praying once when I lived in Boston, I was so down and so sad. I felt that my life was not going in the direction I knew He wanted for me, even though I was taking my pre-med classes and working toward getting into an MD/PhD program. This path had been set out by Him, but I didn't understand why it was so hard and I was so miserable. I felt like my life was just spiraling downward and that I was dying spiritually. My finances were strained, my health was strained, classes weren't difficult, but everything just seemed like a heavy burden that I couldn't carry alone. So, I prayed for help, I prayed to feel rested and led to a new place both physically and emotionally. Heavenly Father answered my prayers immediately. I got an unexpected job offer to move to Denver, CO where I could finally rest. Within two months after I arrived, I was taking the missionary lessons, and two months after that I was baptized. My whole life suddenly changed, I felt happier and more directed. There were and are still many challenges. I am still financially not settled, my health still gives me problems and my life is by no means perfect, but now I have a deeper and stronger faith and I find greater solace in prayer. I was a Christian/Buddhist before, but I didn't have a community of believers to live and worship with, now I have that.

How I live my faith

I live my faith by working hard in school and sharing the Gospel with people around me. I always let new friends or associates know that I am LDS and I try to mention church or family life to someone everyday. I didn't know good things about Mormons when I first started investigating, so I didn't want to be known as a "Mormon". After meeting LDS people in their homes and at work, I realized that we all differ, not every Mormon is from Utah and not everyone from Utah is the same. I tell people about my callings-the jobs that I do at church, such as teaching 5-year-old children-or about the blessings of the Temple and taking sacrament on Sundays. I was raised to follow God, so now I live my faith by making every effort to follow His spiritual promptings. If I am asked to serve someone, I call them and serve to the best of my ability. Heavenly Father led me to this career path, sometimes that requires 90-hour work weeks to follow Him! Even though I prefer rainy, temperate climates and I miss the snow, I am willing to endure sunny weather, no evergreen trees and too much heat because I know Los Angeles is where I am supposed to be. I try to attend the Temple weekly as well as my Sunday block of three hours of meetings, I never work on Sundays, no matter what exam is coming up or what experiments I'm doing in the lab. My grades will be fine and my zebrafish will live another day. So I spend that time with my son and husband, visit family, meet up with church members and REST!!

What are some of the ways that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps those around the world?

We have an amazing program to teach physicians, nurses and other health care providers the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). This is a scientifically validated and clinically proven algorithm that allows health care providers to assess and administer life-saving care to babies immediately after birth that restores or augments normal breathing. I became a certified provider and instructor of NRP in 2007 at my own expense. Then I had the opportunity to serve a short-term church mission to teach it alongside other health care professionals in the Republic of Kazakhstan. It was a wonderful experience for me. I got to use my Russian language skills and learn about the Kazakh health care system. I know we provided the students in our classes with a new tool to save the lives of newborns throughout their country. Some other church programs affect lives on the local level-- we make clothing and blankets for children at women's events, distribute food throughout the US and the world to people affected by natural disasters and collect school supplies for needy children. All of this happens without regard to nationality, creed, race, religious affiliation, or financial/educational attainment and we do it because Christ taught us to be like Him. Christ loves all of Heavenly Father's children and He asks us to serve without prejudice and without reward. In the end we are rewarded, though, with knowledge, increased faith and love for our brothers and sisters around the world. Show more Show less