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February 2021 - Shefali Sood

February 2021

Shefali Sood

BA International Studies (Global Environment and Health); BA Spanish ‘17

Hometown: Troy, Michigan

University of Michigan Affiliations: South Asian Awareness Network - Arise Mentorship Program; Multi-Ethnic Students Association (MESA); Jewish Family Services Ann Arbor ESL Program; Peer Academic Success Specialist Stockwell Hall - RHA; PICS Honors Thesis Program

“The Program in International and Comparative Studies at the University of Michigan provided me with more than just a framework for approaching the world. Throughout my four years of undergraduate education, the courses I took in PICS as well as my classmates and professors fostered a curiosity of the world and a passion for approaching tough problems with innovative solutions. I developed an interest in the health and wellness of populations and our environment, and began to think creatively about my future. 

This major gave me a unique perspective on both deciding to apply to medical school and crafting a future in the medical profession. Through this major, I have come to understand the interdisciplinary nature of health and wellness and the importance of equity in healthcare delivery. I explored the concepts of social and political determinants of health in a unique fashion, and this profoundly affected the way I approach medicine today.

After graduation, I was fortunate enough to be accepted and matriculated at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. However, entering medical school did not dull my interest in advocacy or the principles of international studies. In medical school, I have become heavily involved in the organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and served as a co-chair for the medical school chapter and currently as a member of the National Student Advisory Board. My first year of medical school, other PHR co-leaders and I founded the NYU School of Medicine Asylum Clinic with PHR as well as the NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT). This clinic provides medical and psychiatric affidavits for those seeking political asylum in the United States. I spent additional elective time in medical school working with PSOT, which is based in Bellevue Hospital in NYC, and was able to observe how healthcare workers can work with lawyers and advocacy organizations to deliver essential services to migrants and refugees. Overall, my background in international studies has inspired me to diversify my medical experience, and identify pathways to improve health and wellness beyond basic science and medicine. 

My experiences and the education I received through PICS has allowed me to envision my future in medicine in a unique way. This has prompted me to continue my education and pursue an MPA in Health Policy and Management at the NYU Wagner School of Public Policy in conjunction with my medical degree. In the future, I hope to become a physician who practices holistic, comprehensive medicine and engages in health policy to improve sustainable healthcare service delivery for all.”