Bridging public health, clinical medicine, and Maternal and Child Health into a career, Abhishek Sharma is pursuing his Master of Public Health degree while in India. As a public health trained physician, he plans to serve as a health advocate and health educator in his community. Sharma believes addressing the upstream factors that affect an individual patient's decision to take ownership of their health is important.
September 1, 2020
Tell us about your background and research interests.
Currently, I am a full-time student pursuing my Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Michigan State University and involved in medical research at Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital in India.
I was born and raised in India. I have taken a break from clinical medicine to pursue my interest in research. I have just completed a 1-year postgraduate medical education course called “Global Clinical Scholars Research Training Program” from Harvard Medical School.
I am currently back in India, waiting for my green card to return to the United States. While I am here, I am involved in a research project to determine if the gut microbiome of a patient can help determine the disease severity amongst diabetic patients in terms of developing microvascular complications in the eye.
This has given me the opportunity to put into practice the research skills that I have gained over the years.
What professional or educational accomplishment are you most proud?
Completing a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.
Why are you pursuing a public health degree?
My postgraduate training is in Obstetrics and Gynecology. I have taken a break from clinical medicine and am currently focused on gaining practical experience with clinical research. This break has also given me an opportunity to gain an education in public health by completing an MPH degree at MSU as I hope to focus my future work on Maternal and Child Health.
How do you anticipate having an MPH degree will help you be a better physician?
I believe addressing the upstream factors that affect an individual patient's decision to take ownership of their health is important. The MPH degree would help me connect with my patient on a more personal level as opposed to just their chief complaint during a doctor visit. I also hope to be a health advocate and take a more active role as a health educator in my community.
Why did you choose Michigan State University?
The flexible online curriculum provided MSU has allowed me to pursue my MPH degree remotely while I am in India. I live in Michigan and hope to add the knowledge I gain to better my community's health once I return to the United States.
What does being a Michigan State Spartan mean to you?
A symbol of resilience, excellence, and compassion.
What has been the most influential moment of your practicum experience thus far?
To learn about how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was able to utilize her public health knowledge to identify the Flint water crisis situation promptly and how she availed the health department's support to investigate and identify that there was a problem was eye-opening. It is great to note that her work has not stopped there, and she is still engaged in a collaborative effort to improve the health within the pediatric community in Flint.
What words of wisdom do you want to share with prospective MPH students?
Health advocacy starts locally. To build trust, community engagement is the fulcrum over which any public health initiative's success rests on.
How do you plan to make a difference post-graduation?
I hope to be a bridge between public health and clinical medicine. I wish to incorporate disease prevention and health promotion within the scope of my clinical medicine practice and be an advocate for Maternal and Child Health.
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)