I, Rishita Gupta have recently completed a Bachelors of Science (Honors) in Physiology and Biology at University of Western Ontario. I am currently completing a one-year master program in the Masters of Management of Applied Sciences program with specialization in Global Health Systems in Africa, also at Western.
Over the years, I have volunteered for several welfare organizations in various capacities. Working with people with varied disabilities and personalities enhanced my communication and empathic skills. During high school, I worked at Sunnybrook hospital. I was associated with M1 Wheel Chair Service. I walked wheel chair patients to their appointments for investigations, physiotherapy sessions and doctor consultations. This required me to coordinate with the doctors, so that the patients made it to their appointments on time and with ease. I also volunteered at the Veteran Centre where I spent time with veterans, by talking to them, listening to their stories and experiences of war, accompanied them for walks and served them meals. I also explored my ambition of pursuing a career in public health by being an active member of Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières at my university. As Director of Volunteer Events, I have attained the position to speak on their behalf by raising awareness of the crisis that occurs in such countries through annual fundraising events. For the past four years, I have been volunteering at the Alzheimer Society. My experience working with these patients entirely changed my perspective of dealing with patients who are dependent on others for self-care. My work included talking to and listening to them, going for walks together, eating, and laughing together, and assisting them in every manner that makes them feel self-independent. Also, currently I am volunteering for the Canadian Tamil Humanitarian Association where I have been involved in executing and planning fundraising events. With these events, we obtained donations for projects that are focused in improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations in the under-developed regions in Sri Lanka.
In addition, for two consecutive summers I completed an internship at the Centre for Prostate Disease Research, where I worked on understanding different pathways and factors that can be targeted towards developing effective therapeutic interventions for prostate cancer. This experience provided me great insights into research; taught me to read and review scientific literature; use experimental methods; carry out independent experiments; obtain and infer data; and, analyze and use results for further research. The two internships resulted in co-authorship in a published paper in Nature – Scientific Reports, two poster presentations in American Association of Cancer Research (2016) and American Urology Association (2016), and a co-authorship in a published abstract in The American Journal of Urology.
What are you passionate about in global health systems?
I think the greatest injustice that matters to me most is, the limited access to; and utilization of health care services due to inadequate resources and awareness in certain parts of the world. I strongly believe these injustices are strong determinants of high morbidity and mortality rates that affect the people in those areas. After volunteering at several non-profit organizations, like Ronald McDonald house charities and hospitals over the years, I not only learned how to work with people with different disabilities and personalities, but also realized that Canada was enriched in health care resources and funding. Being exposed to such differences in the health care facilities in Canada and places like India, I have always had an interest to eventually become a health-care professional, specifically a doctor. As a future health professional, I aspire and see my role in helping people that live in areas where it becomes a day-to-day challenge to receive basic medical care. Since then, I have aspired to qualify myself to provide medical care in areas that lack state-of-art technology and resources. With these aims, I think I am most passionate about learning about the ways that I can help and what resources are needed to lessen the impacts of poverty on individuals. Personally, I think the biggest huddle of the practicum will be adjusting to the large discrepancies between life in a first world country to that of a developing one. From this experience, the biggest takeaway I wish to obtain is to learn their way of life, immerse into their culture and hopefully assimilate into their community.