Med student finds career in world health


Greene County News

FAIRBORN — Vishal Dasari, a medical student at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Vishal Dasari, a medical student at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

While most first-year medical students at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine were cramming and studying for their final exams this past June, Vishal Dasari learned that his internship with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, had been confirmed.

The internship was scheduled to begin in a little more than a week. But he couldn’t go unless he had a visa from the Swiss embassy. So he immediately booked a flight to New York City, took a cab to the Swiss embassy and submitted his passport. He hailed another cab, flew back to Dayton and took his final medical exams. Then, he flew back to New York City, picked up his passport and flew to India to see his parents for a few days before flying to his internship in Geneva.

After racking up lots of frequent flyer miles, Dasari was thrilled to hit the ground running in Geneva. For years, Dasari had dreamed of working for the World Health Organization. He had mapped out a plan — apply for an internship with the World Health Organization, earn his Master of Public Health degree, finish medical school by 2020, complete a residency in internal medicine by 2023, practice internal medicine for four years and then apply for a job with the WHO in 2027.

Now, he would learn if it was truly his calling.

“I have always wanted to have a career in public health,” Dasari said. “There is no other organization like the World Health Organization that has a mandate of improving the health of the world’s population.”

During his internship, Dasari worked in the planning resource coordination and performance department in the general management cluster of the WHO.

“The best part of working at the Word Health Organization is that you are working with people who are the best in their fields,” he said. “They have an infectious passion for what they do.”

While interning with the WHO, Dasari gained a better understanding of international health. He contributed to finishing the Compendium of Resolutions, a library of resolutions passed by the WHO during the past 15 years. He attended the Global Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Workshop. He worked with his supervisor on creating the program budget for 2018-2019 to be approved by the World Health Assembly.

He also worked on his own paper for the World Health Organization. The paper, “The Coordination of Cross-Cutting Issues: Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring,” looked at how to coordinate monitoring and prevention efforts across all 194-member states of the World Health Organization. The paper will be included in a yearly book of recommendations, which will be given to the World Health Assembly.

During his internship, he met several people who recommended that he practice medicine first for several years and then apply to the WHO at country and regional offices. Eventually, he could apply for a job at headquarters in Geneva.

“The work with the World Health Organization has a global impact, and that’s what I want to do with my life,” he said. “It’s a feeling of belonging. This is what I’m meant to do. This is a calling.”

Dasari’s interest in public health can be traced back to his childhood spent in both the United States and India.

“My friends from high school were from the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Japan, Zimbabwe, Denmark and Korea,” Dasari said. “Being with people from different countries was not only eye opening, but it also made me feel part of a larger community.”

After graduating from high school, Dasari continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in biology with a focus in evolutionary biology and ecology. He graduated in 2013 and took a job as a health care consultant for TriHealth, a health system based in Cincinnati. He applied to medical school and decided to attend the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

“The people were friendly,” he said. “The Boonshoft School of Medicine seemed like it offered a very supportive environment, where I could pursue the type of career that I wanted in the World Health Organization while becoming a physician.”

Vishal Dasari Dasari

Story courtesy of Wright State University.

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