Student Spotlight: Krinna Patel
Hello! My name is Krinna. I’m currently a senior in the Bachelor of Health Science Program on the Pre-Public Health track hoping to attend medical school in the near future. I was born and raised in the country of Zimbabwe located in southern Africa.
I started at UF as a Health Science major not truly committed to entering the field of medicine but with the premise that I would enter a health-related field. I was extremely interested in both human and animal health.
During my freshman and sophomore years, I sought out opportunities in healthcare-related environments to see if I could actually picture myself working in healthcare. I began volunteering at Shands Hospital and took on a research clerk position in the Department of Biology. At Shands Hospital, I started in the emergency room but quickly moved to volunteer in the NICU Cuddler’s Program. The emergency room provided numerous opportunities for me to witness ER physicians in their daily activities. Some of the trauma cases that came through were truly amazing! Ultimately, my experiences in the ER allowed me an opportunity to shadow one of the on-call ER physicians I had met on several occasions while volunteering. In the Cuddler’s Program, I comforted premature babies and infants with an array of pediatric health conditions. My time in the NICU has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my undergrad.
Following my acceptance into the Bachelor’s of Health Science (BHS) program in my junior year, I applied and was accepted to the BHS Honors Program. Since then, I have been conducting research in the Department of Environmental and Global Health for my honors thesis. My research is primarily on the drivers of food choice and nutrition in the African Sahel region. Specifically, I am studying the relationship that animal source foods have on the health and lifestyles of the small communities and high-risk populations in the country of Niger.
Truthfully, it was not until the Spring of my junior year when I decided to fully commit myself to pursuing a career in medicine. I took a course that -quite frankly- inspired, motivated, and significantly influenced my career ambitions. The course was focused on public health in the global dimension. We learned about public health initiatives and programs that are occurring worldwide. Every week, a new guest speaker with substantial knowledge on the subject was brought in to speak to us about their research, experiences, and the challenges of working in that global health area. Three weeks into the course, I was hooked. Week after week, I found myself still thrilled for an 8AM (yikes!) double block course. I was intrigued by every topic, every week (no lies). Ultimately, that was the course that has led me on my path into medicine. Fun fact: my research and thesis mentor was one of the guest speakers!
In addition to my volunteering and research experiences, I actively participate in clubs and events occurring at the University of Florida. I sit as the Treasurer of the UF Exotic Species Club, a student run organization dedicated to educating the public on wildlife issues and conservation and learning about the wildlife-related research endeavors that are underway at the University of Florida. Educating people on the significance of wildlife conservation is one of my passions. Furthermore, I am currently an active committee member of the UF HEAL (Health Educated Asian Leaders) student organization and work to bring health panels to the UF student body. Definitely look out for our next (free) health panel this Spring, featuring representatives from the UF health-related graduate colleges! Also, I am currently in my second semester of interning at UF’s community outreach program called HealthStreet. I’m a Community Health Worker (CHW) intern. My duties include going out into the Gainesville community to try to connect individuals with social and/or medical services as well as try to encourage them to join open research studies actively recruiting at the University of Florida. I am sincerely enjoying my time interning at HealthStreet! In April, I will be starting a separate internship at the Alachua County Health Department supporting their diabetes management initiative.
In my free time, I enjoy reading novels and drinking copious amounts of Cuban coffee. On the weekends, you can find me at Florida’s zoos staring down gorillas or hanging out with friends and family. Also, I enjoy traveling abroad and my best experiences have occurred while immersed in a different cultural atmosphere. Additionally, I enjoy visiting my extended family in Zimbabwe every couple years.
My experiences and courses in the BHS program have –undoubtedly- helped me discover the career I want to purse. I hope to obtain a Medical Degree and Masters of Public Health with a global public health focus in the near future. My aspirations to become a global citizen and physician have been guided (immensely) and driven by experiences at the University of Florida. As always, Go Gators!
Please feel free to contact me regarding any of the programs I have aforementioned! My email: firstname.lastname@example.org