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Student uses lessons learned from Berkeley Online MPH to confront racial bias in medical testing

Sanjana Mathur is an educator, wife, mother, and considers herself a lifelong learner. She currently holds an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Education at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, where she teaches clinical skills and simulation. She’s also a second year student with Berkeley Public Health’s Online MPH program.

Originally born in London and now living in Florida, Mathur is of Trinidadian descent and received her MBBS from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. While there, she worked as a surgical resident in the public health system before migrating. She now spends her time in academic medicine and hopes to use her public health knowledge to pursue primary care medicine in the future

Her areas of professional interest include medical education, simulation, global health, and health and social behavior. Her curiosity and passion for people led her to Berkeley.

“Before my MPH I knew I wanted to take my career in the direction of population health but I wasn’t certain exactly where. My very first course [in Berkeley’s online program], Health and Social Behavior, was transformative for me as a student, as a doctor, but most importantly as a human. I felt a shift in my thinking, my attitude, and my goals,” says Mathur.

Berkeley Public Health Online offers a flexible, interdisciplinary program, designed for working professionals such as Mathur. Students in the program have the ability to choose classes that are of interest to their personal and professional goals, that fit around their schedules so they can expand their knowledge and apply what they learn in real-time.

After completing her first year in the program, Mathur decided that she wanted to focus on understanding the social determinants of health, and weave that into both her teaching and her medical practice.

“It has enhanced the way in which I see the world and teach,” says Mathur. “[Moving forward,] my practicum will be focused on our core medical curriculum at my institution, where I will comb through all of our medical teaching cases and extract any racial or social biases. This is in an effort to stop any propagation of misinformation and teaching this misinformation by faculty.”

When she’s not teaching medical students and sifting through studies to detect biases, Mathur can be found musing on her blog and social media, where she shares her passions, creativity, favorite hobbies, stories, and things that inspire her and intersect with the change she wishes to make in public health.

In a recent Instagram post, Mathur talks about overcoming trials, the struggle to maintain a school-work-mom-wife-life balance, and how she  motivates herself to by focusing on the difference she wants to make in the world.

“Teaching re-energizes me,” Marthur says. “[It] fuels my zest for life. Medicine is magic to me once again and I can’t ever see myself leaving. It’s so much more than just practicing. It’s theory, art, it’s molding thoughts, it’s challenging minds. It’s also seeing a population as a whole. So many struggles our patients face are beyond their control or even their knowledge.”