From the beginning, serving the community has been important to Pallavi Lanka.
In high school, Lanka had already helped to co-found a health care non-profit. By volunteering in the clinic with patients, she realized the impact she could have on patients by pursuing a career as a physician.
The Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine student recalls her first visit to campus:
“The first thing NEOMED talked about was how we, as students, can impact our community. They showed us how involved the current students were in the community and that’s what drove me to pursue medicine at NEOMED,” says Lanka.
A caring community
Now as a second-year student, Lanka is dedicated to helping her Northeast Ohio and NEOMED communities.
She spends her weekends volunteering as a patient navigator at the SOAR Student-Run Free Clinic, which operates out of the Summa Health location on NEOMED’s campus three Saturdays a month.
The Clinic offers free primary care, such as chronic disease management, regular routine care, physical exams, basic labs and prescriptions for medications to local patients who are underinsured and uninsured.
Lanka is also spearheading NEOMED OutReach’s annual Casino Night fundraiser, which benefits the SOAR Student-Run Free Clinic as the OutReach student organization’s president.
Her reasoning behind her persistence and dedication? “I put in this work because I feel so strongly about the work that medicine can do in our community,” says Lanka.
But the free clinic isn’t the only recipient of her time and talent. This summer, Lanka served as a mentor to students attending MEDCAMP, a three-day medical school simulation that provides soon-to-be undergraduate students, college freshmen, sophomores and juniors hands-on experiences in biomedical science workshops involving research, clinical problem-solving and an introduction to the fields of clinical medicine.
Spending her summer serving others
Lanka also spent part of her summer interning with a local physician through the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Foundation’s Leroy A. Rogers, M.D., Preceptorship Program.
With the guidance of Collin Drolshagen, M.D., Lanka worked on a quality improvement project that studied vaccination rates and the prevalence of medical screening tests in the Tallmadge, Ohio area.
After considering what some of the barriers to vaccination might be, Lanka, says. “I also looked at what was working to encourage patients to get vaccinations and what we can do to improve vaccination rates in our community.”
Now that she’s back on campus, Lanka is looking forward to spending time with her peers again.
Throughout the academic year, she says you’ll often find her in the library studying or hanging out with friends on campus.
As this outgoing student explains, “I try to be everyone’s friend and be a positive force in our class.”