Name: Krunal Patel
Class Year: 2006
Title: Academic gastroenterologist and Associate program director for our fellowship training program
Organization: UMass Medical School
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
As an academic gastroenterologist and an associate program director for our fellowship training program, I help diagnose and manage various gastrointestinal, hepatic, pancreatic and biliary disorders in an inpatient and outpatient patient-care setting, and help with various issues involved with the training of our general GI fellows.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decided it was a good fit for you?
I attended UMass Medical School after Holy Cross. Both are in Worcester so the proximity helped me get to know the school better. It ended up being my first choice and I was glad to gave gotten in (although as we tell applicants, I would have been happy to get in anywhere). Ever since I figured out that I wanted to be a physician, I always envisioned staying in this area. I am from Massachusetts and wanted to practice in the state. I ended up completing all my training at UMass Medical School – that includes 4 years of medical school, 3 years of Internal Medicine Residency, 1 year of Medicine Chief Residency and 3 years of Gastroenterology Fellowship – two years ago and ended up staying on at UMass as faculty. My job allows me to interact with patients in the outpatient and inpatient setting, work with my hands as I perform invasive procedures, and work with trainees at all levels, from the medical students to residents to fellows. It is a good balance and a great way for me to start a career.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I tried to get involved with a lot of things, and seemingly unrelated things. I worked with the theater crew as part of the lighting and stage crew, learned sailing on Lake Quinsig, volunteered with SPUD, was a leader with multiple retreats run by Campion House, was a member of multiple multicultural groups, and a bunch more. I would advise all students to just be curious and learn and do as many things as they can; it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be at a place like Holy Cross so might as well take advantage of it.
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I came in undeclared as a freshman. By sophomore year, I had declared as a Biology Major with a Pre-med Concentration. We started studying for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) during my junior year and by then, I was sure I would be applying for medical school.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Life as a science major was busier than for most. This helped develop a strong work ethic, ability to think critically and stay disciplined, which have certainly come in good use. Some key skills, and this is true for most occupations, are the ability to get organized, multi-task and be resourceful.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
I would say that the field of medicine is rewarding, but also competitive. I would encourage everyone to pursue a liberal arts experience and try to maximize experiences in the classroom and outside. Take courses that have nothing to do with your major, join organizations that may be different, get involved with service opportunities, learn a language. I could not emphasize enough how these kinds of chances will never come by again. But, in all this, you have to stay focused. If you want to go to med school, or any other graduate program or training program, you will have to meet certain criteria. So you have to know the requirements, stick to a schedule and keep your eye on your goal.