As Palvir Baadh reflects back on the day she received her white coat last year, she gets a little teary-eyed. Now a rising second-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine student, Baadh will have the honor of being a student coater for the incoming Class of 2023 White Coat Ceremony in August. Each year, College of Medicine students nominate their standout peers for the distinction of serving as the “coaters” who help the first-year students don their white jackets for the first time.
For the first-year students, “White Coat is a celebration of years of hard work bearing fruit. It’s also the start of a journey that comes with excitement, a little bit of worry and anxiety, but then even more excitement because you realize you’ve made it,” says Baadh.
She also knows better than anyone that the journey to medical school can be difficult. Originally from India, Baadh experienced what she calls a “very humbling childhood.”
“When I was in elementary school, my family moved to America and I saw my parents struggle a lot. We had to go through a lot more hurdles because they didn’t have a good educational background and being from a different country, we didn’t speak the language,” says Baadh.
Despite the obstacles that faced her along the way, Baadh remained passionate about helping people. She developed an interest in medicine through the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health.
As an advocate for those who are underprivileged and underserved, Baadh started her own nonprofit organization, Project Kaur Foundation, in 2015. The group serves those who are homeless or refugees, along with reaching out to communities that have been affected by natural disasters or hate crimes.
Baadh’s peers, along with NEOMED’s Sikh Student Association, an organization which Baadh belongs to, have rallied together and volunteered for several projects.
“I love that so many students here have volunteered through my organization. It just makes me really happy seeing the students here at NEOMED wanting to make a difference,” says Baadh.
But Project Kaur Foundation isn’t her only form of outreach. Baadh also is spending her summer at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, conducting immunology research in the University’s Division of Infectious Disease and HIV Medicine. Through her research, Baadh is working with patients from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C.
Whether it is through a nonprofit organization, a student organization or medicine, Baadh is ready to serve her community.