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Graduate School

Physician Uses Online Master's Degree to Provide Better Care, Reduce Inequities

Erin Bluvas | January 29, 2020

Keerthana Kumar became interested in public health while she was studying to become a physician. As a student at Saint James School of Medicine in the Netherlands, the Florida native completed clinical rotations at underserved hospitals in Chicago and assisted with neuropsychiatric studies at the University of Chicago.

“I became acutely aware of the gross degree of health inequities, with respect to both healthcare treatment and health outcomes,” says Kumar, who was introduced to a hidden epidemic in the south side Chicago community by an attending physician during her psychiatry rotation. “Nearly 40 percent of our patient population suffered from previously undiagnosed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, for which there is no cure but is 100 percent preventable. My desire to be a better physician and potentially help prevent conditions like FASD is why I chose to study public health.”

After completing her medical degree in 2016, Kumar began working as an instructor at the Institute of Medical Boards and conducted research in the neurology department at the University of Missouri. She decided to apply to the Arnold School’s Online Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) – Professional Program because it enabled her to continue working while earning her degree.

My desire to be a better physician and potentially help prevent conditions like FASD is why I chose to study public health.

-Keerthana Kumar, Online MPH in HPEB graduate

While enrolled in the program, Kumar applied her growing public health knowledge when co-/authoring several book chapters on improving patient safety in clinical contexts and a paper on improving healthcare training for treating older adults. She also continued publishing neurology research papers in medical journals.  Read the full article here.


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