Haslam Graduate on COVID-19 Front Lines

Category: News

A desire to help others led Kajal “KJ” Joshi, MD, (’04) from the Haslam College of Business to a hospital in Athens, Georgia, where she’s now a medical resident treating those suffering from COVID-19.

“It’s a very unusual time because we are faced with a virus which we are unfamiliar with,” Joshi said. “It’s been an incredible learning experience in addition to what medical school had prepared us for. Of course, my mom worries about me every day, but luckily we’ve not run out of personal protective equipment, and the hospital is taking precautions to stay ahead of things.”
Joshi’s path to medical school went through a corporate job in insurance, where she utilized her undergraduate economics degree. However, she felt something was missing.

“I’d wanted to do medicine since childhood but was unsure because of the time commitment,” Joshi said. “It was always with me, though, because of my desire to help other people through direct impact. I love being on the front line helping patients, spending time with them, learning about them, and managing their medical problems on a daily basis.”

The presence of COVID-19 in hospitals is challenging for Joshi, but it is influencing her time as a medical resident in fascinating and inspiring ways as well. A degree of innovation is happening at this time in history, she points out.
“Tests have been created, we are utilizing existing medications to help in management, and determining ways to prevent the spread through medicine and technology,” Joshi said. “As we start seeing patients who have recovered from COVID-19, new challenges will include managing any potential long-term complications. This is a situation of cyclical innovation as we learn more about the virus.”

Joshi has finished the first of three residency years in Athens. When she’s done, she plans to stay in the Southeast and give back to the communities that have helped her to achieve her dreams. Originally from Chattanooga, Joshi’s family moved to Georgia about 15 years ago. Living in Athens is not always easy for a Vol though.

“I get a lot of grief about football,” Joshi said. “Still, I have fond memories of being a student worker with the Vols and have that to hang onto. I really enjoyed my time at UT and created some lifelong friends with whom I get to share this journey.”