As a health promotion major and gerontology minor, Jasmine Udeshi has gained new perspectives on improving health care access for vulnerable communities that she hopes to apply to a career in medicine.
“I developed an interest in geriatrics, because I witnessed firsthand the health inequities and prejudice older adults face. I wanted to be at the forefront of this change for patients like my grandparents,” she said.
Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion – Behavioral Medicine Emphasis, Gerontology Minor
What attracted you to a degree in the field of public health?
Coming into college, I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, but I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. I looked into the majors offered at UGA and decided on public health because of the versatility of this degree.
Why did you choose your particular concentration? Minor?
I was torn between epidemiology and medicine, and with health promotion, I am able to take classes that pertain to both to help me make an educated decision about which field to pursue.
I chose the behavioral medicine emphasis because of how well its program design aligns with the pre-med track. All of the medical school prerequisites also count for this emphasis, so it proves to be very efficient. Also, this program incorporates an internship, which I felt was a great way to gain clinical exposure and class credit in the same semester.
I am currently minoring in gerontology. I grew up living with three of my grandparents, so I constantly found myself accompanying them to their doctors’ appointments and to the pharmacy. With this, I developed an interest in geriatrics, because I witnessed firsthand the health inequities and prejudice older adults face. I wanted to be at the forefront of this change for patients like my grandparents.
Are you engaged in any interesting research projects?
Last summer, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Dementia Working Group at the UGA CARE Center. We worked to compile a database of resources for patients with dementia and their caregivers, including different medical specialties, law offices, and even respite services. This database is in the process if being sent out to clinics and hospitals around Athens, and it will eventually be expanded to include areas past Athens and its nine surrounding counties.
I am also in the Physical Activity and Community Environment (PACE) Lab with Dr. Jennifer Gay. In this lab, we are conducting a social environment for physical literature review to examine the correlation between social factors and physical activity in adults. We are also conducting caffeine research in a survey format to examine different amounts of caffeine consumption around campus, across majors, and motivations behind caffeine consumption.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your time as a public health student?
The highlight of my time as a public health student has been the research projects I have had the opportunity to be a part of. Working in the UGA CARE Center as a part of the Dementia Working Group alongside Dr. Sarah Saint Hamilton has been such an honor. I was exposed to health disparities and inequities in the older adult population that I was not previously aware of. This gave me a more wholistic perspective that I can carry with me during my career as a provider.
What activities during your time here are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my place as a volunteer in the PACE Lab under Dr. Gay. I reached out to her the summer before my freshman year, because I was interested in the ongoing projects in the lab. This was a big step for me as a freshman, because I came to UGA not knowing much about public health. However, since that time this lab has been so informative and welcoming.
We have even started a student-lead research project that we will present at Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities at UGA this year. My proposal for this project was approved by CURO, and I was awarded a $1000 scholarship. Ultimately, this lab has proved to be even more fruitful than I could have imagined. I have gained not only important research and problem solving skills, but also a mentor and friends in the department who always make themselves available to guide me.
Do you have any volunteer experiences that were especially meaningful?
I am on the Community Engagement Board of the Atlanta Rise Against Hunger chapter. We partner with local businesses and volunteer groups to package meals that are sent out to places in need. We also work to educate people in hunger-stricken countries, like Nicaragua and the Philippines, on how to cost-efficiently grow and prepare food to feed their families and communities which will help them to be self-sustaining for years to come. This cause is especially meaningful to me, because my grandparents emigrated from a small town in India. I can only imagine the impact a program like this one would’ve had in that community.
Do you have any external activities that you are passionate about?
I am a campus ambassador for Vot-ER, an organization that focuses on voter education and registration in healthcare settings. We provide healthcare professionals with voter education resources that they care share with their patients. To me, having voting access is vital in the healthcare process because of how intertwined healthcare and government policy have become. It is very important that patients know the importance of voting and having their voices heard.
What insights have you gained a public health student?
The biggest insight I have gained as a public health student has been through the discussion of privilege in healthcare and the social determinants of health. Before taking public health classes, I was under the impression that healthcare began and ended in the exam room. However, I failed to consider any external factors such as race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, age, and other demographics. I am grateful to be in a program that focuses on recognizing privilege in healthcare and works towards equity for all.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduating, I plan on attending medical school in hopes of becoming an OB-GYN.
Posted on October 14, 2022.