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Highlighting the Heroes: Rush University Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medelita The Right FitKushal Nandam

The Ohio State University Combined Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine Program / Columbus, OH – Chicago, IL
Kushal Nandam, attends Rush Medical College. He says the best part of going to school at Rush was that much of clinical training was at Cook County Hospital, the premier non-government hospital of Chicago that cares for the undeserved population with no insurance or poor health insurance coverage. Kushal always feels like he could make an immense difference by taking care of patients at Cook County hospital. The people he interacted with were not only medically complicated, but also socially complicated patients. Many of these patients in these cases had nowhere else to turn to. Many of them were homeless, had drug problems, or were struggling to raise their children in single parent households on a minimum wage job. Kusahal said he was able to make a difference because he went out of his way to help them on a path to quit using hard drugs, finding the right social workers to find placement in shelters and rehab for work. The gratitude he received from seeing the difference he makes in these people’s lives is the motivation that keeps him going through his training; it also fuels him to make a difference in the healthcare system. Kushal matched at The Ohio State University Combined Internal Medicine & Emergency Medicine program and he will receive dual training in both specialties. This very competitive training program is an ambitious undertaking and self-sacrifice he has made to pursue his final goals. The dual training program adds an additional 2 years of training compared to EM or IM training programs alone, without the promise of any additional payout in the future that other specialties would have provided with a fellowship program. Kushal chose this specialty because of his insatiable thirst for knowledge. He wants to have the ability to take care of anyone at anytime along their spectrum of illness, whether it was an acute exacerbation or managing critically ill patients. With this training he will be a valuable doctor to partake in medical mission trips abroad that he greatly aspires to in the future. Additionally, he chose this training because he wants to change the broken healthcare system. This dual training encompasses the major fields of exposure to the healthcare world: The ER, the outpatient clinics, and critically ill patients in the hospital. He says that this training will allow him to witness where things can be improved upon and what parts of the hospital system need to be completely replaced. Additionally, this training program gears its residents to leadership positions within hospitals, which allows for greater opportunities to change how the hospital system is run. While at Ohio State, Kushal will also have the fortunate opportunity to take classes, in addition to his residency duties, to pursue a Masters in Public Health. It is a unique offer by the program. Kushal sees this as an immense asset to his training, as well as with his Bacherlor’s degree in Economics, to improve the healthcare system through public policy. Being in Columbus, the state capital, he will have direct opportunity to interact with legislatures during his training years to work on policy or make recommendations to policy as well. Kushal had a number of influences that contributed to his dedication to pursue medicine. However, it was his community service work while he went to college in St. Louis that fueled his passion to not only purse medicine, but change how medicine can help his community. He volunteered in Big Brothers and Big Sisters for four years providing support as a role model and tutoring for the under-served kids in the inner city schools. Kushal also volunteered at an HIV clinic while in college where he saw the stark contrast of health services available for the lower socioeconomic class. Many of these people in the afflicted with HIV were ostracized by their families or communities because of their condition or sexual orientation. Because they were shunned, it was difficult to find work or find support or even proper medical care. This lack of access to resources and healthcare stuck with Kushal and made him vow to pursue medicine with the idea to serve those who needed healthcare the most. Kushal had to make much personal sacrifice on his journey to getting his medical degree, but the number one thing he sacrificed was the family time he cherished so much. He is someone who goes out of his way to not only spend time with his immediate family as much as he can, but also makes sure to keep a bond with his extended family. The intense schedule of medical school has had him sacrifice seeing his parents as often as he would have liked. He is also very close to his brother and has not been able to spend the time he normally would have given him. He had to miss numerous holiday gatherings with the family as well as family religious events that he normally partakes in. Despite having to miss his family more because of the rigorous training, he does a tremendous job in making sure he is connected with his family and let’s us know that we are always on his mind. Vote for Kushal here. If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.