As a child, Sushmita Malik, MD Class of 2020, loved to switch her television between her two favorite shows: “Arthur” and “ER.” Her fascination with emergency medicine never waned. “Someone comes into the emergency department with a problem and you’re there to fix it,” she says. “It’s often the worst day of a patient’s life, but an ER doctor can have a huge impact and make the patient’s day and life better.”
Last summer, Malik pursued her passion for international emergency medicine in Kerala, India, thanks to the Christopher L. Barley MD Scholars Fund. During her time in India—where Malik was born, but had not visited since she moved to the U.S. at the age of four—she completed a qualitative research project about emergency medicine residency training programs. “I analyzed the use of social media—including WhatsApp and Facebook—and Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAMed) within emergency departments,” she says.
Malik says that the scholarship not only gave her the opportunity to travel abroad for the summer but also helped shape her path of becoming a well-rounded physician. “I gained understanding and compassion towards diverse patients even though we did not speak the same language,” she says. “In India, I was able to learn acute management care with ultrasound and advanced cardiac life support early on in my medical education.”
She believes that her experience in India will help her be a better doctor. “I think every medical student should have some global health experience,” says Malik. “It opens up your mind and helps you appreciate more about other people when you work with a diverse population. I’m grateful for this experience.”