Current ICRE Spotlight

Originally from Sharon, MA, Mohini Dasari, BS, was raised with the values of helping the less fortunate, often volunteering with her mother and sister at soup kitchens and clothing drives from an early age. When she began her college career at Rice University in Houston, TX, as a biochemistry and cell biology major, she continued to work with those in need through programs on campus and in the local community. Today, Mohini strives to ensure that the work throughout her medical career will be meaningful and continue to help underserved populations.

Mohini is a dual-degree MD/MS student in the ICRE’s Clinical Scientist Training Program (CSTP) and, under the mentorship of Juan Carlos Puyana, MD, one of her current research projects is studying the implementation of a tablet-based, electronic trauma registry application in three low-middle–income country (LMIC) Latin American hospitals. This hospital-based trauma registry tool will give hospitals and physicians in LMICs the ability to switch from paper to electronic trauma health records and track the presentation and clinical outcomes of their patients. This tool will ultimately allow these LMIC hospitals to make improvements to their current trauma care systems, as well as the distribution of resources, through research and quality improvement projects from the electronically-captured patient data. Under the guidance of Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, Mohini has conducted mixed-methodology research with young homeless women in Pittsburgh, which provided her skills in qualitative research that have been very useful for her implementation science project. She has conducted focus groups and interviews with physicians and hospital staff in Paraguay and Guatemala to better characterize the process of implementing a hospital-based electronic registry tool in an LMIC to guide future similar efforts in the field. She plans to return to Guatemala to help launch the implementation of this tool in one of the two busiest trauma hospitals in Guatemala.

Mohini has always been interested in women's health and the issue of gender-based violence and, more recently, she became interested in surgery during her third-year rotations in medical school where she fell in love with the operating room. With encouragement from her mentor, she realized that she could pursue surgery and still be impactful and fulfill her interest in addressing the issue of gender-based violence as a physician. One of her long-term goals is to change the way trauma systems screen and address gender-based violence, both pre-hospital and in-hospital. She is currently conducting a large cross-country comparative database study to investigate differences between female trauma patients in the United States and India, her country of origin. She is interested in investigating gender differences in presentation and outcomes of assaultive mechanisms of trauma in these two different regions of the world. Ultimately, Mohini would like to develop a pilot system to be used in both countries that will train trauma clinicians to accurately screen the number of trauma patients seeking treatment in hospitals due to gender-based violence. She also hopes to develop an algorithm for how trauma providers can systematically offer quality resources and help within the short, and often only, window of intervention the hospital visit may represent for many of these victims.

Mohini is grateful that the CSTP program has given her quality courses, practical skills, and valuable mentorship that will be useful throughout her career. The program has also fostered a helpful support system with her colleagues to discuss her research obstacles and has opened doors to other training opportunities. She was recently accepted as a scholar to a four-month course offered through the University of Puerto Rico and funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities entitled, "Health Disparities: A Translational Research Approach", which focuses on understanding, uncovering, and addressing health disparities research. She also continues to serve as president to the Association of Women Surgeons Student Chapter at the University of Pittsburgh, where she organizes discussion events and facilitates mentorship opportunities between medical students interested in surgical careers and current surgical residents and faculty.

Offering words of wisdom and encouragement to her colleagues and other medical students she mentors, Mohini commented “No matter what field you go into, I think there is a way to help people who are underserved, and there is a way to do research that can shed light on truths that can later be used to change things, whether inside or outside of the hospital."

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