Monday, September 17, 2007

Turned down 20 times,
he persists and achieves his goal

Michael Ain knows more about rejection than almost anyone. First, he is a dwarf, just 4 ft. 3 in. He knows the stares, the teasing, the turndowns first hand.

Nevertheless, blessed with a superior intelligence and a desire to serve others, the Brown University graduate aspired to become a doctor. So he applied to some 20 medical schools.

And was rejected 20 times.

Some interviews portended the outcome. He was told he would have great physical difficulties, e.g. that he wouldn’t be able to reach the patient’s bedside. Ain suggested he could use a footstool. Others said he wouldn’t be strong enough. Ain was a weightlifter, was stronger than other applicants and pointed that out. Finally, other interviewers posed the question, ‘would Ain be respected by his patients?’ He had won awards from peers at Andover.

The excuses were lame, but the rejections stuck, like a wrongful court verdict. Ain was angry, hurt, and afraid that his dream would die. But still he would not relent.

To improve his chances of acceptance, he came back to Brown for a fifth year, took two advanced science courses, and earned two A’s with distinction. He published research.

Thus fortified, he again applied to the round of 20 medical schools. Again a batch of rejections – but this time, one acceptance!: from Albany Medical College in upstate New York. The interviewer was impressed that Ain played baseball at Brown, and batted against future star and New York Mat Ron Darling. (You never know where your redemption will come from so keep all the irons in the fire sizzling.)

Ain excelled at Albany, found a wife (5 ft. 6 in.) and started a family. Albany also took him on as a surgical resident; he received further training at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where he practices.

Today, Dr. Ain is a successful pediatric orthopedic surgeon, likely the only one in the world who also happens to be a dwarf. He refused to allow his condition to rule his life.

He specializes in solving the orthopedic problems of little people. Dr. Ain’s can-do personality, ready smile and professional success gives his patients hope of a productive, satisfying life.

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