Spotlight: Sagar Joshi

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Name: Sagar Joshi
Major: Neurobiology
HCMP Role: Director of Professional Development, Professional Relations, and Alumni Relations
Classification: Senior
Associations: Natural Sciences Council, Student Health Advisory Committee, Phi Beta Kappa

Describe a shadowing experience that has impacted you the most. 
I shadowed a primary care physician, Dr. Poonawala. I was surprised at the number of patients we saw while I was there. There was a patient that had come because he has diabetes. He seemed agitated and questioned everything Dr. Poonawala said, but that did not faze her. She answered each of his questions without hesitation and proved that what she said was beneficial for him. I saw how much responsibility rests on a physician. They have enough knowledge to diagnose patients and motivate them to follow the treatment plan. I asked Dr. Poonawala how she conversed so easily with the patients and she said, “every patient is different and you have to account for that.” Two examples include a woman who felt depressed because of her weight and a man with high blood pressure. While speaking to the woman, Dr. Poonawala spoke calmly and stayed relatively close to the patient telling her that it was not too late to change with a healthy diet and exercise. The man with high blood pressure, however, didn’t seem worried about it as he told us his high fat diet. Dr. Poonawala responded in a more assertive tone than the one she used with the depressed patient. She wanted him to know that he would not live long if he didn’t change his ways. The patients reacted differently to her advice, but both said they would try to change. As she interacted with other patients, I realized that there is more to being a doctor than suturing a wound or prescribing medication. Communication is essential to providing great medical care.

How has HCMP benefited your professional or individual goals?
I am set on becoming a physician because of HCMP. Before I was pretty sure I wanted to be a doctor, but after all of the shadowing experience I gained I could not see myself doing anything else. I realized I would be happy with the lifestyle of a doctor and the responsibility that comes with the profession. It has exposed me to what my life will be like in the future. Also, I’ve been told that doctor shadowing is an unwritten pre-requirement for medical school. I have been able to talk a lot about shadowing and about being a leader in the organization during interviews because of HCMP.

What has been your favorite aspect of HCMP?
My favorite aspect of HCMP is definitely the variety of doctors that I shadowed. Each day was a different type of doctor with a different style of practicing medicine. I shadowed a cardiothoracic surgeon, OBGYN, primary care physician, pediatric dermatologist, and many others. Through all these physicians, I got an idea of what specialties I could see myself doing in the future and how each type of doctor interacted with their patients. Essentially, I see HCMP as clinical rotations before medical school (minus the stress that comes with medical school).