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A Passion for Culturally Competent Public Health and Preventative Care

Student Karaan Kothari performing Bharatanatyam, a classic Indian style dance.
Student Karaan Kothari performing Bharatanatyam, a classic Indian style dance.

October 10, 2023

Karaan Kothari chose to come to Drexel University after meeting faculty and students at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) who each had a shared vision of what a healthier, more equitable, world could look like. He grew up outside of Philadelphia in Moorestown, NJ, and appreciated the opportunity to gain a career-orientated education close to home.  

Now in his senior year at DSPH and the Pennoni Honors College, Kothari has received a solid grounding in public health principles and the multidisciplinary areas he can pursue on his career trajectory. DSPH prepares students like him to care for the health of populations not just an individual once they become sick or injured. They are trained to identify barriers to optimal health and create community-based solutions that take into account history and culture. 

"Studying public health really helps to answer the question of 'why?’ We spend time understanding context and how historical actions affect communities in existence today,” said Kothari. “Having a strong understanding of that basis is essential to making effective changes to the inadequacies we see across the nation in medicine, legislation, injury prevention, and health today.” 

Through coursework Kothari discovered a passion for injury prevention, improving public health communication, and providing culturally competent care. He even put some of this training into a real-world setting. 

As a trained Indian classical dancer who specializes in Bharatanatyam style dance, Kothari advocated for young dancers to engage in safety measures to avoid injury while doing what they love. He developed messaging tailored to the needs of his community to preserve something so special in his culture. He shared his findings in his Injury Prevention and Control class during his junior year. 

“I am passionate about culturally competent health care, and I have always tried to link my heritage to my education in public health. Last year, I advocated for injury prevention practices in young dancers to protect the longevity of this ancient dance form,” said Kothari. 

For his Co-op, Kothari is interning as a medical technician at a local Optometric office called Premier Eye Associates. In this position he assists optometrists with screening patients for certain eye conditions and diseases. True to his public health path so far, his Drexel Co-op is allowing him to put his passion for preventative health care to work. The practice screens for conditions such as Keratoconus, Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, and Dry Eye — all of which call for early intervention for improved outcomes.  

Upon graduation he hopes to secure a job in direct patient care where he can improve people’s trust in science, medicine, and public health and Drexel provided the tools he will need.  

Learn more about Dornsife Undergraduate Public Health Programs