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Meet TouroCOM Middletown’s Student DO of the Year

Erawadi Singh Gives Her All to Fellow Students

December 27, 2016
Erawadi Singh (second from left) was nominated by her peers to be the Student DO of the Year at TouroCOM Middletown.
Erawadi Singh (second from left) was nominated by her peers to be the Student DO of the Year at TouroCOM Middletown.

“It’s okay if I lose some points or miss some questions in order to make sure my classmates and I make it to the finish line together,” Singh said. “That’s a sacrifice worth making.”

It’s this attitude that was recognized when Era was named Student Doctor of the Year at TouroCOM-Middletown. Singh said she was humbled by the honor, which was chosen by a committee after a fellow student nominated her for the award.

“Era is not only kind, but very selfless,” said Ivana Choudhury, Student DO of the Year Committee Chair and a Parliamentarian of the Student Government Association. “She goes out of her way to help other students. She selflessly gives others her all no matter how busy she is.”

The idea of staying up all night to help her fellow students wasn’t so strange for Singh, who says she followed the example of her family doctor, Dr. Ganga Sharma, of Newark, NJ.

Singh said that Dr. Sharma ran his private practice like a clinic.

“He stayed extra hours each day to make sure everyone was seen. If people couldn’t pay, he would just help them,” she recalled. “He was just about making sure that people got care. He had a basement full of samples for people who couldn’t afford medication.”

Erawadi SinghAt Singh’s grandmother’s funeral, Dr. Sharma was one of the pallbearers.

“That’s how committed he was to his patients and it’s that sort of personal care I hope to bring to medicine one day too,” she said.

And even though Singh is up the night before most exams, her grades and school activities haven’t suffered too much. She’s a member of the TouroCOM-Middletown Honors society - Sigma Sigma Phi, as well as the president of the Psychiatry Student Interest Group, on the board for Gender in Medicine, and a member of the school’s social committee. The Psychiatry Student Interest Club recently held a burn-out panel for first-year students and the social committee held a holiday party for 200 students. Singh hopes it’s her positive attitude that might have resonated with the committee’s judges.

“I have a lot of great classmates and there’s a lot of things we like to do collaboratively,” she said.

Singh, who grew up in Newark and slept on her family’s living room couch for most of her childhood, always knew she wanted to be a doctor. And knowing her end-goal early on, allowed her to pursue an unorthodox path to arriving there. She attended Emerson College and received a fine arts degree in writing and poetry (her favorite poet? Frank O’Hara) with a minor in non-Western Studies.

After graduating, Singh DJ’d in New York at nights, while working as a creative arts psychiatric researcher at a downtown start-up. She worked for a prominent maternal fetal specialist and tutored inner city students in Newark. Before she started medical school, Singh went backpacking across Southeast Asia with friends.

“I’ve always had my eye on the prize [of becoming a doctor],” she said. “I figured let me pair that with doing everything that I wanted to do so I won’t look back and have regrets.”

Singh will move on to the competition for the American College of Osteopathic Medicine’s National Student Doctor of Osteopathy of the Year in April. In the video that Singh submitted as part of her application for the National DO Student of the Year, she focused on her classmates.

“A lot of who I am is shaped by people,” said Singh. “I wanted to do a big thank you to everyone I know. When I think I’ll look back about what I enjoyed most in medical school, it was the people. People are what make a place.”