Kundan Malik Named Student-Doctor Of The Year
First-gen immigrant overcame numerous hurdles to reach medical school
As a child, it’s probably unlikely that Student-Doctor Kundan Malik thought about what it would be like to be chosen Touro University California’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM) Student-Doctor of the Year.
In fact, for the first decade of her life, she probably hadn’t thought much about what it would be like to grow up in America. That’s because Student-Doctor Malik grew up in Pakistan and moved to the United States when she was 11.
“As a first-generation American, I faced many challenges and obstacles of discrimination, whether it was my skin color, clothing, or beliefs,” Malik said.
She also faced a number of more basic challenges, like learning English, meeting friends, and wading through a mound of cultural differences.
Once she conquered those difficulties, she continued down a path that eventually brought her to Touro, where her many roles in leadership drew the respect of peers and faculty alike.
TUCOM Dean Dr. Tami Hendriksz noted Malik’s kindness, compassion, diligence and focus in praising the third-year student-doctor.
“I have been working with medical students for over a decade, and Kundan is definitely one of the best medical students I have had the pleasure to work with,” Dr. Hendriksz said. “I am honored that she is one of our students and will soon be an osteopathic physician.”
Along with class leadership roles, Malik has also been engaged with such programs as Project HAPPY (Healthy attitudes produce positive youth) co-chair, TUCOMs osteopathic physicians and surgeons of California (OPSC) liaison, Vice president of the Dermatology Interest Group, western regional leader for the College of Osteopathic Student Government President (COSGP) Research Committee, Marginalized Community Health Subcommittee, and much more.
With her background, her hopes are to bring service to patients from all walks of life, particularly patients of color.
“Patients of color have always been underrepresented in the medical education system for decades,” Malik said. “I am currently working on a faculty development course to enhance the education that patients of color receive. My hope is that this education will serve to ensure that those who have been underrepresented in certain spaces of medicine are represented with respect, science, and compassion.”
At the university level, the SDOY award is largely a reflection of respect among ones fellow medical students. Malik was humbled and grateful by the honor, recognizing she is one of many who could easily hold this honor.
“I am beyond humbled and grateful for being selected as the recipient of this award,” Malik said. “The thing I love most about the Touro staff and student body is that everyone has a can-do attitude. Being a part of this community pushes me to become a better student-doctor and leader.”