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Buccino Leadership Institute

Big Steps Forward - Rishi Shah  

Buccino Leadership and School of Health and Medical Sciences Student Rishi Shah

Rishi Shah, Senior Pre-Med Student

Senior Rishi Shah obtained every pre-med student’s dream: an acceptance letter to medical school. After graduation this spring, Rishi will further his academic career at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Rishi did not grow up dreaming of entering the medical field; instead, he was thrust into it at age fifteen when his grandfather fell into cardiac arrest. At the time, family members stood there in shock, but young Rishi acted and dialed 911. When on the phone with EMS operators, they informed him that the ambulance was far away and that he would need to perform CPR.

Despite his limited knowledge of CPR, the dispatcher began coaching him on what to do. Soon, Rishi saw an eyelid flutter. Then the other one. He had successfully resuscitated his grandfather. EMS arrived and rushed him to the hospital and into emergency surgery. After the surgery, the doctor pulled Rishi aside and told him how his CPR saved his grandfather’s life.

This moment was a revelation for Rishi. He realized that he enjoyed the feeling that accompanied helping others at their most vulnerable moment and he was eager to learn more about medicine. This event motivated Rishi to join his local EMS squad, first as a transport assistant and later as a certified EMT.

Another moment that affirmed his interest in medicine was when he was nineteen. His EMS team entered a patient’s house to find broken glass and alcohol bottles littered across the room. Rishi convinced the man to receive help at the hospital and leave with the EMS team. On the ambulance, he inquired about why the man had been drinking and learned that he had lost someone he loved. Instead of judging the man for turning to substances, Rishi shared his own personal experience with grief. They took the man to the hospital, gave him to additional medical personnel, and left for the next call.

A year later, the EMS department received a letter addressed to Rishi. It was from this individual thanking Rishi for showing him compassion that day and it informed him that he had remained sober since the day of their conversation.

Rishi realized that he wanted the ability to follow up with his patients. This prompted him to apply and later be accepted to the Overlook Summer Internship Program where students interested in the healthcare profession had the ability to shadow medical personnel in a variety of specialties. At this program, Rishi was intrigued by the doctor’s ability to piece a person’s medical history together to generate a diagnosis. This experience further cemented his desire to enter the medical field and it encouraged him to apply to Seton Hall on the pre-med track.

During his internship, Rishi got to observe the unique relationships physicians' have with nurses and PAs. It made him realize how effective leaders not only help the healthcare team work together; they improve patient outcomes. This experience spurred his desire to join Seton Hall's leadership program at the Buccino Leadership Institute.

When asked about how the leadership program has helped him throughout college, Rishi pointed to the freshmen and sophomore Interdisciplinary Team Projects (IDTs) where he was able to improve his leadership skills.

Rishi explained how these projects helped him understand the importance of being a flexible teammate and leader. Through IDT teams, he learned that to lead effectively, he must be open to others’ ideas and to think of what’s best for the team. Rishi sees these interdisciplinary experiences as being instrumental in teaching him abilities that will allow him to be leader and team player in the medical field.

The Buccino Leadership is extremely proud of the academic and personal successes that Rishi has achieved throughout undergrad, and many at the institute cannot wait to see him succeed at Rutgers Medical School.

Categories: Campus Life, Education, Health and Medicine