Skip to main content

In this new Vital Signs series, we feature 4th-year med student, Santosh Bodepudi. From Winston Salem, NC, Santosh had a deep desire for community service and equitable healthcare. He shares more on what motivated him to pursue medicine and the overwhelming support of faculty and peers at Carolina.

Fourth-year med student Santosh Bodepudi discovered his passion for medicine at an early age, especially through his grandfather. He shares more about his experience at Carolina and his goals in pursuing quality care for individuals experiencing chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions.

Q. What were you interested in in high school and college? Did you always want to be a doctor?

I was drawn to medicine from an early age, a passion primarily inspired by my paternal grandfather. He was the first surgeon in his entire county in India and became a significant figure in the local communities. Throughout his remarkable career, he not only transformed the lives of countless patients and their families but also impacted the broader community by frequently providing care for those unable to afford it. Though only ten at the time, I was deeply moved by his dedication and the palpable impact of his work. These early impressions instilled a foundational desire in me to pursue a career in medicine, aspiring to emulate his meaningful legacy.

Q. Why did you choose to become a doctor?

The decision to become a doctor was deeply rooted in a commitment to service and a profound belief in equitable healthcare. Growing up, I witnessed disparities in health access and outcomes, which fortified my resolve to make a difference. In medicine, I saw a unique opportunity to directly impact lives, not only through healing but through advocacy, education, and empathy. My journey through medicine has been driven by the belief that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves access to quality care and the hope for a better tomorrow. This dedication to service, combined with a deep curiosity about medical science and its challenges, has been the cornerstone of my career. I am motivated by the challenges and inspired by the potential to contribute to a world where healthcare is a given right, not a privilege.

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

At the UNC School of Medicine, a distinctive culture of support and academic freedom distinguishes our institution. From the outset, a tangible sense of community encompasses everyone — from my classmates to the professors, attending physicians, and even the deans. The remarkable level of accessibility, such as the ability to directly text the dean with any questions or concerns, highlights the comprehensive support system in place. This ethos of openness and encouragement is fundamental to our educational journey. It enables us as students to unfetteredly explore and expand our interests across clinical care, research, and advocacy. The nurturing environment at UNC doesn’t just foster our academic growth; it molds us into well-rounded, empathetic physicians, poised to make meaningful contributions to the medical field and society at large.

Q. What do you plan to focus on after med school (residency in what and where)?

After completing medical school, I plan to specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, with a long-term goal of completing a fellowship in interventional pain or interventional spine. I applied to residency programs across the country, prioritizing academic institutions renowned for their unique research opportunities and commitment to medical education.

Q. What is your career goal?

After completing my residency and fellowship, my primary goal is to enhance the quality of life for individuals grappling with chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions, ensuring they receive compassionate, cutting-edge, and timely treatment. My broader vision extends to merging clinical excellence with innovative practices, actively contributing to research that propels patient care forward, and advocating for policies that expand access to rehabilitation services for underserved communities. Additionally, I hope to continue developing my interests in medical education so that I can mentor the next generation of medical professionals while cultivating a learning environment filled with curiosity and commitment, reflective of the supportive atmosphere I experienced during my time at Carolina.


Match Day 2024: Santosh matched into the four year PM&R program at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center! Congratulations, Santosh!