“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King, Jr
The reason for choosing healthcare as my career was the quote I mentioned above. My journey has been very diverse since it started with me completing my medical school in India from M.M Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Ambala in 2017 and working there as a family physician for a year and a half.
A couple of events aroused my interest in Public Health. Coming from a household of physicians, many times my parents’ dinner table discussions were around preventable diseases that led to a loss of quality years for people. Also, during my internship I was assigned a family of 5 in a village back home for 3 months. During my assessment of the family’s health status, I realized their health issues were linked to preventable causes. The family had 2 members from the vulnerable group, an elderly and a 4 year old girl. The elderly woman had hypertension and I educated her on the DASH diet and other lifestyle modifications. Further, the kid was facing mild malnutrition and had a reduced immunity because of that. I made her parents aware of her growth charts and connected them to a free community program run by my parent institute for malnourished children. By the end of 3 months, I re-assessed the family and felt accomplished to see their health improving dramatically.
This made me realize the potential of Public Health and the upstream approach it takes. Following this, I applied for my Master’s in Public Health in the United States and got accepted into Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences University, Boston. My school really taught me the principles and core subjects of Public Health. My embryonic journey in Public Health made me realize how each sector of our society is connected to Public Health. During the course, I developed interest in Health Promotion and Health Policy. Later, I got the privilege to work with Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health during the pandemic. I did contact tracing for various cities of Massachusetts and created a toolkit for the general public on reopening guidelines as per the CDC.
Eventually, I moved to Canada after my Master’s right in the middle of the pandemic and worked with Simon Fraser University as a Researcher to assess the impact of pandemic on Canadian youth. This gave me the opportunity to get to know what youth actually thought about the pandemic and assess their response. One thing led to another and I landed up volunteering with the Public Health Youth Association of Canada. I am on their Health Promotion and Health Policy teams and have worked on several infographics and health policy briefs which really made me believe that these are my fields of choice and skill.
Currently, I work as a Clinic Administrative Lead with Peel Public Health at their Mass Vaccination Clinics and I am proud to share that I am a part of the solution where we have given the majority of the Peel population their 2nd shot of COVID vaccine.
My journey till now has been really amazing and informative. I would really like to continue working in the field of Health Promotion and Health Policy. I would also like to enhance my skills in the field of Clinical Research and work as a Researcher as I have developed a keen interest in Clinical Research. During my Masters I had this opportunity of attending a seminar on medical genetics at Harvard Medical School by Dr. Robert C. Green, Medical Geneticist where I understood how minorities were under-represented in various researches. Further, choosing Genetics as my elective during my Master’s gave me a greater insight to how lack of research acted as a barrier to addressing major public health issues. Also, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has proven the impact a research has on addressing public health calamity which motivates me everyday to pursue my interest in clinical research to address public health issues.
To anyone who relates to my journey, I would say, keep up the work you are doing, believe in yourself and keep answering the most urgent and persistent question of your life. I wish you all the very best!