Leading by example is what Dr. Priya Jaisinghani does best.
From New Jersey, she navigated logistics and healthcare systems to acquire resources. She also recruited healthcare workers for Indian hospitals and patients in home isolation.
Dr. Priya Jaisinghani is a first-generation Indian-American. She became the first physician in the family after graduating from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She completed her Internal Medicine residency there as well and is currently pursuing the Endocrinology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell. Her interests include minority health, mental health, and medical education. Currently, she is also on the Board of Directors of SAMHIN (South Asian Mental Health Initiative and Network), which is a non-profit organization that aims to address the mental health needs of the South Asian community.
We spoke with her about all that she did to help people during the pandemic and the road ahead.
DissDash: What inspired you to become a doctor?
Dr. Priya Jaisinghani: It was really a series of moments that powered my passion to become a doctor. I was always inclined towards the sciences and through volunteering and some personal experiences, I witnessed unadorned and raw moments between a doctor and a patient, in which the essence of trust, care, and learning was rooted. Growing up in NJ, I grew up in one of the most diverse states in the country and was exposed to many different ethnic minorities. I worked for several South Asian organizations creating culturally tailored health curricula. Through this string of opportunities, I knew that I wanted to empower individuals in the community to engage in their healthcare and equip them so they could overcome the healthcare disparities they were facing. I realized that studying medicine and becoming a doctor was the best way for me to gain competence and deliver care and compassion to the community.
DissDash: How was the COVID experience for you as a doctor?
Dr. Jaisinghani: Humbling. It was extremely humbling to witness the medical community rise and remain resilient in the face of physically, emotionally, and intellectually challenging adversities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of unknowns, we kept our courage, and as science advanced and we learned more about the virus we adapted. We truly lived the words “bench to bedside” as research provided evidence and equipped us with vaccines to better evaluate, treat, and manage our patients. The respect for my colleagues and community has never been greater.
DissDash: How did you get involved in sending aid to India?
Dr. Jaisinghani: Having served in New Jersey and New York as a COVID-19 frontliner, I knew when I heard from about 30-40 family members across Mumbai and Delhi having contracted COVID-19 how catastrophic the surge could be. I was hearing first hand about the horrors faced by patients and providers with the Delta variant and the healthcare system being completely overwhelmed as ours was here in the US. It was a dire plea for help amidst the pandemonium of the pandemic. Ironically, a disease that divided and distanced us from each other also brought us together as global citizens. As global citizens, we needed to bring attention, awareness, and advocacy to India’s crisis. I worked to bring awareness by hosting multiple talks across social media platforms such as Clubhouse and universities and companies at various locations throughout the nation. I united with a group of civilians along with a few physicians to engage in activism on the ground by providing best practices guidelines and experiences, navigating logistics, and acquiring resources.
DissDash: How has the response been from those who you have helped?
Dr. Jaisinghani: Whether it was listening to concerns, answering questions, directing individuals to the appropriate resources such as local NGOs, every single person I interacted with was beyond grateful for availability and accessibility to information and help they received in any and every capacity.
DissDash: What’s next for you?
Dr. Jaisinghani: I’m so excited to begin my journey as a specialist in Endocrinology. I am continuing my advocacy for minority and mental health through initiatives with SAMHIN. I’m also expanding my role as a health educator to the community through various social media outlets. And I’m always looking for new avenues to provide the most comprehensive care for my patients.
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