May 29, 2007
Dedication to service nets new doctor highest student honor
by beverly clark
With an M.B.A. and M.D. in hand, Arun Mohan is poised to begin a career focused on doing good, not just doing well. Mohan — who graduated from the Emory University School of Medicine May 14 — already is making a difference as a physician-advocate and social entrepreneur dedicated to improving access to and quality of health care for all.
Since entering Emory in 2001 to earn dual medical and business degrees, Mohan has founded several philanthropic and advocacy organizations, including Health Students
Taking Action Together, a statewide coalition of health students in Georgia dedicated to bringing students together in service to their communities and as advocates for their patients. He has also served as a director of Georgians for a Common Sense Health Plan and was the first-ever student director of the American Medical Association Foundation.
His achievements earned him Emory’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain Award, presented each year at Emory’s Commencement to a graduate who has demonstrated exemplary service to both the University and the greater community without expectation of recognition. Candidates are required to demonstrate a strong character, meritorious service and sense of integrity.
“I am really humbled to receive it. There are so many students doing great work to make Emory and the world a better place that receiving the Brittain Award is truly an honor,” Mohan said.
Mohan earned his M.B.A. from Emory’s Goizueta Business School last year where he was an Albert Bows Scholar. He also participated in the Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy and was Goizueta’s student Commencement speaker in 2006. Through his dual business and medical backgrounds, Mohan’s long-term goal is to find ways to improve and protect access to quality health care through a combination of public policy and entrepreneurship.
“My parents were immigrants who became very successful. My dad tells the story that he came to this country with a suitcase of clothes and $9 in his pocket. But that doesn’t tell the whole story — he also came here with a medical education and good health,” Mohan said. “Education and health make a tremendous difference in our access to success. I want people to have access to the same opportunities I have had, and the way I see to do that is through health care.”
For his commitment to expanding opportunity for all Americans through health care, Mohan has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2003 Anne and Harper Gaston Service Award and Emory’s Humanitarian Award. He was named to Georgia’s “Top 40 Under 40” by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2006, and in 2005, was named a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans, one of only 30 graduate students in the nation to be so honored.
He is slated to begin his residency in primary care internal medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Health Alliance in June, along with his wife, Carmen Patrick Mohan, who also received her M.D. from Emory May 14.
“I grew up a lot here. Emory helped me better understand my values and goals, and gave me the support to put those plans in place,” Mohan said. “Everything I do is because I love it and I’m passionate about it. It doesn’t feel like work. I also have a tremendous amount of support from colleagues and partners, first and foremost my wife.”
As co-founder of HealthSTAT, Mohan grew the organization into a statewide coalition of health profession students. The group, the only student-run nonprofit of its kind in the country, now includes nearly 1,000 members from all of Emory’s health sciences schools, Morehouse Medical College and the Medical College of Georgia, among other universities. Most recently, HealthSTAT lobbied against cutting the funding of PeachCare, Georgia’s insurance program for poor children.
Mohan also is the co-founder of Recognizing and Encouraging Aspirations in Community Health at Emory Medical School. Through that organization, he helped secure additional funding for medical students doing community health work. He helped develop the medical school’s new curriculum and assisted in the development of the new Emory Institute for Developing Nations.
Mohan received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Swarthmore College and studied at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy as a Jane Adams-Andrew Carnegie Fellow. As an undergraduate, he was a volunteer for the Farm Workers’ Support Committee in Kennett Square, Pa., where he translated for Mexican farm workers during visits to doctors, lawyers and others for assistance. It was there that he founded a summer camp to mentor 21 Mexican children aged 10 to 14. Mohan also co-founded FreeRelief.net, which helped raise $10,000 for the American Red Cross following the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India.