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In this new Vital Signs series, we feature third-year UNC School of Medicine student Meera Deva, from Cary, NC, who told us about her aspirations to become a doctor and help those who are often neglected or struggle to access the healthcare system.

Meera Deva is a third-year UNC School of Medicine student from Cary, North Carolina. She plans to pursue a fellowship in either emergency medicine or internal medicine. Her goals include helping vulnerable populations gain access to healthcare.

Q: What were your interests in high school and college? Did you always want to be a doctor?

A: Throughout high school and college I was definitely interested in the sciences, but I wasn’t fully sure about medicine. I majored in biostatistics through the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and I could definitely see myself pursuing statistics at a pharmaceutical company in the future. I also tinkered with biomedical engineering at one point, and I really enjoyed working with professionals in that field. I was strongly involved in a non-profit organization that made prosthetic hands for children, and this is when I interacted with a vulnerable patient population that I felt was really neglected. A common theme throughout all of my experiences was that I wanted to make the most impact on groups of people’s health as a whole and really advocate for them, and I felt like the best way for me to do this was to pursue medicine.

Q: Why did you choose to become a doctor?

A: I think the basic things like learning about physiology, pathology, and treating people always fascinated me. But the main reason was that I had an experience with my grandfather suffering from a stroke, and I could see the life-changing effects it had on him. I was so intrigued by the mind/brain-body connection and really wanted to better the lives of people going through something similar. I also think there are so many people in this country that struggle with accessibility to healthcare, and people in vulnerable populations that could use more advocates for them. I wanted to put myself in the best situation possible to help. For me, that was through becoming a doctor.

Q: What is the most interesting part of medical school at Carolina?

A: The backgrounds of people that enter the class – some have a whole family, some had completely different careers previously,  some were in the army or navy, and some speak numerous different languages.

Q: What do you plan to focus on after medical school, residency possibly?

A: I’m undecided between emergency medicine and internal medicine. I think the possibilities are endless with either of these. I think I want to pursue a fellowship and become more specialized beyond residency, and there are so many opportunities for great EM/IM and fellowship programs.

Q: What is your career goal?

A: To do my best as a physician for my patients, try my hardest in everything that I do and help move us toward a more fair and just healthcare system.