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Highlighting the Heroes: University of Illinois Med School Grad up for $25K Award

H.E.R.O. Award

Sonya Kenkare, MD

University of Chicago – Chicago, IL
Dr. Kenkare attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and describes her experience:
In the summer before second year, I did a rural volunteering project through the University of Illinois at Chicago in Andahuaylillas, Peru, taking histories and performing physical exams for patients. Following my clinical experience first year, in a suburban family practice clinic, the range of disease I observed in this Andean town was very different. While the majority of patients I saw in Chicago suffered from metabolic syndrome, patients in Andahuaylillas largely suffered from respiratory problems, malnutrition and enteric parasites. Additionally, resources and medically trained staff were scarce. In a community where access to medical attention is limited but pathology is abundant, our presence made a difference in the lives of many people. In an early encounter as a high school hospital volunteer, I remember a baby with a cleft palate in the pediatric ward who was irritable and unable to breathe or feed without the assistance of tubes. When I held him, I observed his protruding tongue and had immediate respect for the plastic surgeons that would perform multiple surgeries to ensure that this child would never remember having this problem. This was incredibly inspirational to me. A physician sees an anomalous anatomical presentation and envisions the necessary treatment to achieve a desirable end point. Applying science and executing that vision can improve lives in a profound way. Due to the time and financial constraints of medical education I did not see the majority of my family, located in India, throughout the 8 years that I was in college and medical school.
Vote for Sonya here. If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.