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New York Medical College Student Recognized with Prestigious U.S. Public Health Award

Graduating Medical Student Medha Reddy is the National Recipient of the Award

May 22, 2024
Medha Reddy receives U.S. Public Health Service Award
Lieutenant Commander Dara Lee, M.D., M.P.H., Medha Reddy, and Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, M.P.H., at the awards ceremony

“We are thrilled that Medha Reddy has been awarded this prestigious award,” said Neil W. Schluger, M.D., SOM dean. “Medha's exceptional dedication to women's health and her commitment to addressing healthcare disparities in under-resourced communities have set her apart. Her accomplishments exemplify the highest standards of medical excellence and underscore the profound impact of compassionate, equitable care, a hallmark of NYMC. We are incredibly proud of Medha's achievements and look forward to her continued contributions to the field of public health.”

“I am elated to witness Dr. Mehda Reddy's unwavering dedication to serving others being rightfully acknowledged by the USPHS,” said Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, M.P.H., vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion and associate dean of student affairs, who nominated Reddy for the award. “She epitomizes the essence of a public health professional, leaving an indelible mark on NYMC and the well-being of countless communities. Her influence is profound, and the future holds even greater promise.”

As a medical student, Reddy served as the lead clinical investigator on projects identifying and addressing health disparities, including the impact of migraines during pregnancy upon neurovascular and obstetric outcomes, the influence of gender-affirming hormonal therapy upon seizure incidence, and socioeconomic and racial disparities in alteplase administration for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Her commitment to improving the accessibility of health care services and management has generated more than 50 accepted publications and presentations in academic journals, including Stroke, and at national conferences, including the American Public Health Association and the World Congress of Neurology.

Committed to translating her clinical experiences and research findings into actionable change for her patients and colleagues, Reddy used her role as co-chair of the American Medical Women's Association's National Gender Equality Task Force and vice-chair of the American Medical Association's Medical Student Section's Women in Medicine Committee to author resolutions promoting the advancement of health equity in numerous spheres. Her resolutions prompted state and national medical societies to establish better social, physical, and economic environments in a range of areas, including promoting the equitable representation of women in clinical trials, the expansion of Title IX policies on sexual harassment, equal pay for female-identifying physicians, and enhanced Medicaid coverage of preventative women's health screening programs. 

She also advocated for these interests with congressional representatives and public officials as an expert for the Medical Society of the District of Columbia's Gender Equality Task Force and a delegate to forums, including the American Medical Association's National Advocacy Conference, the White House's Listening Sessions on the National Action Plan Against Gender-Based Violence, and the United Nations' 66th Commission on the Status of Women.

As her class began medical school in a largely remote format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reddy was a campus leader for health care worker burnout and wellness. As a student senator, she collaborated with the NYMC administration to organize events, including "Pulse Check" mental health discussion sessions, virtual student socials, game nights, a virtual Thanksgiving, and Student Celebration Day. She also embraced her role in establishing resources that equip the next generation of physicians with the skills to address health disparities in their clinical practice by expanding access to medical Spanish instruction, helping to establish the health policy area of concentration, and participating in the College-wide Anti-Racism Anti-Bias Task Force. She facilitated school-wide conversations on health disparities by organizing a TEDx-style full-day conference on "Access and Excess in the Era of COVID-19," the inaugural NYMC Women in Medicine Mentoring Luncheon, a Women's History Month exhibition for the Phillip J. Capozzi Library, and an LGBTQ+ health certificate program, which allows NYMC medical students to enter the workforce with more in-depth knowledge on health issues of this marginalized group of patients. 

Her endeavors to eliminate health disparities earned her many accolades, including the Diana Award, "the most prestigious accolade a young person aged nine to 25 can receive for their social action or humanitarian work, ”the United Nations Youth Assembly Distinguished Youth Speaker Award, MIT Solve Global ChallengeSolver Award, Maryland Women's Heritage Center Unsung Heroine Award, and the Maryland Governor's Citation.

Now having completed her M.D. program, Reddy plans to expand upon this work by continuing her training as a neurology resident at the University of Chicago Medical Center and by pursuing a master's in public health and fellowships in women's neurology and neuroepidemiology.