Nikita Wagle

Nikita Wagle

MPH, Health Services Research, Texas A&M School of Public Health

What inspired you to study public health?

I began my journey in the healthcare industry as a medical student and evolving as a physician with over 5 years of clinical training. Throughout my expedition, I have always seen myself as an avant-gardist working with limited available resources to improve the quality of care delivered. The desire to improve healthcare delivery for the vulnerable populations began when I worked briefly as a resident intern physician in a small village area in the state of Maharashtra in India through my community medicine rotation. As I reflected upon this experience, the inequity in the delivery of healthcare triggered my ambition to pursue further education in the field of public health.

What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?

My research is about the interplay between racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (a type of liver cancer) treatment. This research gives me the ability to address gaps in the scientific evidence in cancer disparities research. It gives me the ability to draw the attention of clinicians and policy makers to the plight of our countries racial, ethnic and socioeconomic minority populations. It gives me the ability to promote health equity and to bring about change in the lives of cancer patients, especially the most vulnerable.

Advice:

As an international student trying to understand healthcare system is the US was daunting. I would say light reading on the American healthcare system before school would make their first semester less daunting. It will get better, trust me.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

Structural racism. The effects of structural racism are age old, widespread and affect every step of healthcare continuum. We have strong evidence that even the recent pandemic of COVID-19 disproportionately affects our racial and ethnic minorities. We need to work and we need to work now!