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Graduate Profile: Natasha Sood, Doctor of Medicine; Master of Education

Natasha Sood, MD, recalls talking to Louisiana residents who were struggling to put their lives back together following Hurricane Katrina. It was there in 2015 as a University of Michigan undergraduate on an environmental justice service-learning trip that she solidified her interests in the environment and health equity.

Natasha Sood stands on the steps of the capitol building in Harrisburg holding a sign that reads "Climate Change is a Health Crisis."

Natasha Sood protests at the 2019 Harrisburg Youth Climate Strike. (Photo courtesy of Paul Nguyen)

“Everyone has a responsibility to take care of our planet and each other,” Sood said. “Learning how natural disasters, fueled by climate change, were affecting access to health care really made me question my role in responding to the environmental disasters happening in our country and around the globe.”

After pursuing a master of public health at Columbia University, Sood chose Penn State College of Medicine for medical school. She was attracted by the College of Medicine’s curricular emphasis on health systems science and humanities as it aligned perfectly with her interests. During her interview, she recalled walking down the hallway outside the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center cafeteria and was inspired to see the diverse profiles of people who worked at the hospital and their unique roles.

“I could tell there was a big emphasis on community at Penn State,” Sood said. “We are all unique in the skills, talents and knowledge we bring to the table, and all roles are essential to a thriving health care system.”

Natasha advocates for a sustainable future. She breathes what medicine means.

Natasha Sood speaks at the 2019 Harrisburg Youth Climate Strike with a crowd behind her.

Natasha Sood speaks at the 2019 Harrisburg Youth Climate Strike. (Photo courtesy of Paul Nguyen)

Upon arriving at the College of Medicine, Sood collaborated with Sarah Bronson, PhD, associate dean for interdisciplinary research, to build up the sustainability council at Penn State Health and the College of Medicine.

But Sood didn’t just find community at Penn State. She also co-founded Medical Students for a Sustainable Future — a group of more than 700 medical students across the country working to make their institutions and communities more sustainable through advocacy, curriculum reform, research and climate-smart health care. With her passion for climate and health education, she built the multi-institutional collaboration called the Climate Resources for Health Education initiative at the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education – an initiative that has created an open-access repository of adaptable expert-reviewed climate-health case studies and slides for health education.

Sood will join Brigham and Women’s Hospital as an anesthesiology resident after graduating.

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