Today we’d like to introduce you to Aruha Khan.
Aruha, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Hello! My name is Aruha Khan, and I recently graduated from the University of Tennessee (UT) with a dual–major in Biological Sciences & Finance.
I was born and raised in Knoxville, where I have had the opportunity to bring awareness to my passion for combatting medical disparities and inequalities.
This passion is founded upon my experiences visiting New York City at 10–years–old. I was enjoying the atmosphere of Times Square when my brother suddenly collapsed onto the pavement. He was simply dehydrated and recovered quickly, yet the momentousness of the event has remained with me.
I can distinctly recall my thoughts at that moment. I was always instructed to call 9–1–1 in emergencies, but I was worried about the financial strain of the decision upon my family.
The event, therefore, began to shape my interest in removing the barriers to healthcare access.
When I began attending the University of Tennessee (UT) in 2018, I quickly realized that social media was the primary news source for many students, including myself. However, the brief Instagram stories and Tweets are simply not enough to learn about global events.
During the Fall 2020 semester, COVID–19 only intensified the importance of global awareness, most notably with regard to medical disparities and inequalities. As the pandemic worsened, I noticed that on-campus student organizations never mentioned the medical inequalities that impacted COVID–19 morbidity and mortality.
I founded Student Advocates for Medicine in Politics (SAMP), a student organization turned nonprofit, in January 2021 to address the unique lens of Pre–Health that often went untouched, namely medical awareness and advocacy. Its mission is to amplify and accelerate the goal of worldwide medical equality by mobilizing local communities with education and outreach.
It has been very exciting to expand our efforts beyond the University of Tennessee (UT) campus! We are now officially a Tennessee–registered nonprofit corporation, planning to advocate for and educate the greater Knoxville community.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The road was smooth in some aspects yet rocky in other aspects! The student organization was straightforward, to begin with, yet the marketing and recruitment aspects were difficult.
There are several Pre–Health organizations at the University of Tennessee (UT). The organization was therefore responsible for building its name among other groups. The organization has since recruited many students across colleges and disciplines!
I later began to explore the prospects of incorporating the organization. The process would be very rewarding, although it involved access to financial resources and legal aid.
I was fortunate to receive help from the University of Tennessee (UT) College of Law, specifically Prof. Eric F. Amarante. He selflessly provided the legal counsel required to incorporate the organization in Tennessee, thereby allowing the organization to grow and thrive.
We are now planning to expand the organization beyond the Knoxville area, which certainly has challenges of its own. We are looking forward to our future!
As you know, we’re big fans of Student Advocates for Medicine in Politics (SAMP). For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Student Advocates for Medicine in Politics (SAMP) amplifies and accelerates the goal of worldwide medical equality by mobilizing local communities with education and outreach.
We are differentiated by our key initiatives: Awareness and Community Outreach; Caregiving in the Local Community; and Fundraising for International Causes.
The nonprofit organization plans to go beyond the reach of the University of Tennessee (UT) to partner with organizations at high schools and universities for monthly lectures and related small–scale community projects.
For example, Student Advocates for Medicine in Politics (SAMP) plans to leverage our nonprofit status to host a community-wide event in the greater Knoxville region. The event will focus on raising awareness for affordable medical and dental care for both insured and uninsured patients in our community.
I am hopeful that the organization expands far beyond Knoxville to establish many chapters nationwide! I wish to ensure that the group fosters awareness and advocacy in future changemakers and healthcare workers, who must be lifelong learners to succeed in offering quality healthcare to all patients.
You can learn more about our mission on Instagram at @SAMPNPO or LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/sampnpo.
Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I enjoy using apps like Emphasis and Flora, which have enabled my productivity in my academic and professional roles.
I also love photography and international travel! They are my favorite hobbies that allow me to stay motivated year-round.
You can visit my Instagram at @aruha.khan for images from my travels around the world!
- Instagram: instagram.com/aruha.khan