At a young age, Rashmi Sudarsanan Bismark knew she wanted to devote her career to helping people.
From high school, she was accepted to the University of Rochester’s prestigious Rochester Early Medical Scholars program, an eight-year program leading to a bachelor’s and a doctor of medicine degree. She explored a variety of courses outside of biomedical sciences while there, including Eastern religions, anthropology and medical humanities. Coupled with an opportunity to study abroad in India and learn about traditional healing systems and the doctor-patient relationship in Ayurvedic medicine, Bismark grew more interested throughout medical school in the role of the mind and spirit in health and healing.
After completing an internship in internal medicine, she headed off for more international adventures—three years in Bangalore, India, followed by three years in Paris—in support of her husband’s career. The couple also started a family during this time.
“While being a stay-at-home mom with our two precious daughters was priceless, I was eager to return home to complete my medical training, and preventive medicine seemed to be a logical fit given my interests,” she said. “When my husband knew he would be relocating his career to Buffalo, I was thrilled to hear about UB’s preventive medicine residency program and their accredited School of Public Health and Health Professions.”
“There were so many things to be grateful for in this program,” she said. “The residency faculty and professors at the SPHHP were truly wonderful individuals, passionate about what they do and eager to help you learn. The smaller class sizes ensured a superb amount of attention and focused on helping you achieve your learning goals.”
In addition to the support she received in building on her interest in mind-body medicine, Bismark said she appreciated the wide range of experiences the program provideed. “From family practice clinic to the health department, from research to leadership opportunities, and from teaching to community outreach, there were so many great possibilities to shape your future preventive medicine career,” she said.
For the academic phase of training, Bismark pursued an MPH in community health and health behavior. “The opportunities in this department alone for research and community involvement were fantastic,” she said.
Within the residency program, she chose to specialize in the cancer prevention track which offered training and research experiences in a variety of cancer prevention and control activities with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“This program prepares you to be a leader in the field of preventive medicine,” said Bismark. “It gives you the skills you need to impact change from a systems-based approach—whether it be with your patients, in communities, in health care settings, within medical education, at the national level or globally. You gain a whole new perspective on your ability to impact the promotion of health within the profession of medicine and the communities we live in.”