In this interview series we ask questions to people who are making a difference in our society, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.
Vishnu Venkitasubramony is a Junior at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Georgia, United States. He is an a avid social worker, debater and cyclist that loves to raise awareness of health issues in and around his local community. Vishnu Venkitasubramony has worked very closely with Georgia Thrombosis Forum for 3 years and has been actively trying to educate people about health, scientific advancements, research and preventative measures. He hopes to one day become a medical doctor and work in rural and underprivileged areas.
- Tell us something about yourself?
I am a Junior at Northview High School in Johns Creek, GA, and I have a passion for social service and medicine. I have been part of clubs that are involved in helping the underprivileged and fundraising. The most important aspect of volunteering that inspires me is the ability to raise awareness in terms of health and everyday science. In my experience, I have noticed that society is not spending significant amount of time decoding the research and scholarly articles put out into the world. I want to bridge this gap and help people understand simple method to stay on top of health and scientific advancements. This is why I am thoroughly invested in the cause of GTF whose simple mission is to raise awareness of thrombosis through research and communication. I am also an avid debater and a National Honor Society member.
- Why do you want to pursue medicine?
I want to pursue medicine because it is the best and highest pursuit for people who want to make a difference in the community. I would love to be given the opportunity to work in Doctors Without Borders program and provide free healthcare for the people who need it most. I am aware of several people close to my family and the people I have met in GTF have suffered from thrombosis and other medical conditions. I feel that it is my obligation to raise awareness of these issues as well as work on the forefront to solve these problems. Medicine reveals itself as the right instrument to achieve this goal.
- What are some of the areas you want to focus on in your medical studies?
I would love to focus on thrombosis in my medical studies in the future. My experience with GTF has truly opened my eyes about the lack of awareness of thrombosis to the general population. The coagulation cascade and the clotting process to me is an exciting process that I would love to specialize in the future. Last summer I was given the unique opportunity to work as a Summer Intern at Loyola University in Chicago, IL under the supervision of Dr. Jawed Fareed, a World renowned Scholar, mentor and teacher in the department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis. I conducted research regarding new Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOAC’s) that have been recently introduced into the market. DOAC’s work by preventing the clotting of blood and affecting various steps in the coagulation cascade. My research investigated the efficacy of these DOAC’s and how FEIBA (a procoagulant used for hemophilia patients) can serve as an antidote for these DOAC’s. Results indicated success with 3 out of the 5 DOACs researched. These studies have been published in a few peer-reviewed international journals such as the ASH (American Society of Hematology), FASEB (Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology), ISTH (International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis). My research was labelled as original and ground breaking by Loyola University. I would love to be part of such research in the future and innovate new ways to help deal with thrombosis.
- What are your thoughts on the challenges related to healthcare in countries like India and US?
The main challenges that need to be addressed in a fast pace growing country like India is the scarcity of physicians serving the rural population of a rapidly urbanizing country. Many statistics show that there is a great dearth of physicians to serve the rural communities which have fewer resources and lack of sound healthcare infrastructure. I would love to serve myself to helping underserved developing asian countries in the future as a doctor.
The main challenges that need to be addressed in the US lie with the current highly politicized healthcare system. Partisan fighting of healthcare implementation has forced the common citizens to suffer without a healthcare plan leaving thousands of children uninsured. Other challenges that lie in the U.S. are regarding the aging population and the technical and physical challenges that lie ahead with the management of these individuals. Overall, I feel that these are issues that can be solved with the right mindset, determination and willingness to change.
- What are your hobbies and interests outside of your studies?
I am very interested in the medical health of my community and plan to raise awareness of children obesity in my community this summer by hosting athletic events at community centers. This will give kids the ability to connect and learn about the importance of health and management from an early age. I am also an avid cyclist and have participated in many events around my community.
- Whom do you see as an inspiration?
Dr. Atul Laddu inspires me the most. His willingness to give back to the community and his tireless social work has truly inspired me to be like him. He has exemplified the role of a physician not only in a clinical setting but in the noblest sense by raising awareness and saving thousands of lives at once. He has always inspired me to do the best work possible and has shown me the wonderful world of medicine. The platform I stand upon, the aspirations that I have and guidance I have sought have been a direct result of him. I will forever be grateful for the role he plays in my life.
- Given the current scenario where immigration is perceived as something negative to the society, as a child of immigrants what are your thoughts on this?
As a child of an immigrant, the current scenario of immigration is an issue that touches my heart closely. I believe that the hatred, bigotry and violence that has erupted over the years is due to a simple misunderstanding. All people are good people and the simple way to realize this fact is to talk about it and engage your community. Communicating erases these feelings of contempt and defensive fear of new cultures and people. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “The only thing to fear is fear itself”. It is important to raise awareness of this perspective throughout the society and all it takes is the willingness to speak.
- What are your ideas on improving education in the underprivileged communities around the world?
Education is a fundamental right that every single individual deserves to obtain. Unfortunately, underprivileged communities in the world never get this opportunity. I would like to in the future be able to go forth into these communities and attempt to provide them with the necessary opportunities. Meanwhile, I request the readers of this article in the Indian Periodical to do everything in their power to give back to their community through donations and volunteering. More importantly, I would like to raise awareness to the fact that standardized testing is not a measure of your ability to be successful. The severe emphasis of testing in developing countries begin to erode creativity and future success. It is equally important to place an emphasis on extracurricular and gain hands on experience such as research.
- What sort of connection do you feel with India?
I have a very deep connection with India. It is a land of my forefathers and a land that will always have a special meaning to me. I have lived in India for 4 years learning its culture, traditions, customs and languages. All of these have given me a unique perspective and a open viewpoint to cultures and ideas. It is a beautiful country that I will always have a deep and profound respect for.
- Your message for our readers?
Many people have dreams that go unrealized in the simple monotony of life. Learn to Listen to your heart and do what it says. Do what truly inspires you and this simple act will inspire others creating a chain reaction of success and change.