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T.H. Chan School of Medicine class speaker aims to be a ‘doctor for the people’

By Kaylee Pugliese

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

May 26, 2022

Iha Kaul, MPH, views urology as a way to treat patients like people, not statistics, and utilize the technical skills she’s learned as a medical student at UMass Chan Medical School. 

“There’s a lot of epidemiologic issues within urology that are community-based,” Kaul said. 

Kaul is headed to Brown University for her residency in urology. First up, though, she’ll be speaking on behalf of the T.H. Chan School of Medicine at UMass Chan’s 49th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 5. Kaul held back tears as she described the honor of being nominated by the Class of 2022.  

“My classmates have been such a huge part of my education,” she said. “You learn a lot from school, but you learn so much more from the people around you. For them to even consider me to share some messages on this really great occasion and momentous achievement for all of us—it touches me a lot.”  

Kaul’s interest in medicine was inspired by her mother, who has been a primary care doctor in northern Massachusetts for three decades.  

“Seeing her work and her relationships with patients was something that has impacted me,” she said.  

Kaul majored in human biology, health and society and nutritional sciences at Cornell University. She has a Master of Public Health from Tufts University. Before she decided to attend medical school at UMass Chan, Kaul worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a public health associate, where she conducted fieldwork. She quickly realized she wanted a more personal connection with patients.  

“When you are doing that kind of work, you work with people like they’re numbers. I just like people as people, so I wanted to go to medical school,” Kaul said.  

The Andover native chose to enroll in the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health track, which focuses on population health, health care disparities, and health issues specific to urban and rural communities. Last year she was one of the inaugural recipients of the Equity in Action Student Award. The new award, made possible by the UMass Chan Medical School Class of 2020 Alumni Anti-racism Gift, recognizes students promoting equity and anti-racism.  

UMass Chan has prepared Kaul to be a “doctor for the people”—to know patients and their families. She said her mentors have demonstrated what it’s like to take care of and treat human beings.  

“Everyone who comes out of UMass Chan is wonderful. They’re the types of people I’d want to have taking care of my family,” Kaul said. “I don’t know what kind of magic sauce they put into our education, but that value system that they put in us is really something that is unique to our school and it’ll prepare me well for the future.” 

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