Keerthana Kumar, MD, MPH, is a third-year preventive medicine resident. Her program is housed within the UK College of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine. In the following Q&A, part of our “Why UK?” series, she shares more about her interest in preventive medicine and how her work with the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is preparing her for her future career.

Q: Why did you pursue a residency at UK?

A: Over the course of my medical training, I saw opportunities to improve health outcomes by incorporating evidence-based methods into policy making, addressing social injustices, and learning to effectively create change within and outside of the health care system. These are foundational principles in preventive medicine. I witnessed the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching effects during my beginning stages of practicing medicine as an internal medicine resident. This indicated the importance and reach of preventive medicine and instilled in me a desire to expand my medical practice to learn and practice the tenets of preventive medicine. I decided to pursue the two-year preventive medicine residency at UK because of the diverse training opportunities within the UK HealthCare system, and the integrated curriculum with the state and local health departments that provided a lot of training to address policy making and social determinants of health as a physician.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your experience?

A: The preventive medicine curriculum at UK has given me a lot of freedom to pursue my academic and research interests. I have always had a strong interest in neurology and movement disorders, and while I have been extremely fortunate to work with many amazing educators, working with Dr. Gregory Jicha at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has been incredible. Dr. Jicha is one of the kindest, most effective, and most inspirational educators I have learned from. I gained experience with National Institutes of Health-sponsored research projects, public healthy surveys, policy improvement, and clinical education. The training and experience have been an impressive and valuable amalgamation of preventive medicine and neurology.

Q: How has UK prepared you for your future career goals?

A: I have received valuable training in health care leadership and health policy implementation. The UK preventive medicine curriculum has provided me with meaningful opportunities that allow for effective implementation or change of health care policies, both within and outside of health systems, which serve to improve health outcomes. Preventive medicine is defined by a desire to improve the practice of medicine in ways that are individually important and meaningful to physicians. The training and opportunities I received through the UK Preventive Medicine Residency Program have been unparalleled as it has provided me the tools to practice medicine more effectively in ways that have been incredibly meaningful to me.