Shant Ohanian


Atlanta GA

Year in Med School


Where did you complete your undergraduate education?

UGA! 🙂

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a pretty “nontraditional” student, took a few years off from undergrad to expose myself to different areas of healthcare, and to support my partner through her graduate education (she’s returning the favor now!). I enjoy cycling and baking and consider myself an amateur bike mechanic. I like to work with my hands and keep myself busy in my off time. As far as other intellectual pursuits, I have a love of foreign languages. I like to keep my Spanish sharpened by watching Spanish language TV or listening to Spanish radio/podcasts.

Why did you choose MCG and the Medical Partnership campus?

I really believe in the power of public education. I went to a public high school, attended UGA, and saw public medical education in GA as a very natural next step for me, especially because I want to stay here in GA as a practicing physician. I appreciated MCG for its huge scope, both geographically in our state and in the variety of opportunities it offers to students. I originally considered the Augusta campus, but after attending an open house and speaking with Medical Partnership students I was drawn to the smaller campus family here in Athens.

What is your advice for someone who is interested in medical school?

Consider that there are many opportunities to impact people’s lives in healthcare outside of being a physician. The physician is only one member of the healthcare team, with specific duties in the clinic. If you see yourself drawn to other fields in healthcare, make sure you study and expose yourself to those fields before deciding that practicing medicine is for you. Ask yourself if the physician’s role in healthcare is how you want to interact with the healthcare system, and if that is worth the intense training. After soul searching, if you’re still gung-ho about your aspirations to be a physician, be ready to put in the work! Smarts only takes you so far, but hard work and putting in the hours will be what takes you the rest of the way.

What is a typical day for you?

I like to make sure I’ve read the material being covered in lecture before lecture starts, that way I am able to be a little more thoughtful about what’s going on in class that day. Once done with lectures, I always like to take a break and walk / cycle around the neighborhood or campus, have some strong tea and do my weekly write-ups in the early afternoons. In the evenings I try to keep my mind on medicine and listen to podcasts (CurbSiders is a great internal medicine pod!) and find new ways to look at the material we cover during the week. My partner, who is a practicing occupational therapist, and I will try to find a new and interesting recipe on our cookbook shelf and cook together while we talk about the interesting things we see day-to-day. Some warm ginger tea before bed 🙂

What motivated you to want to be a physician?

For a long time I thought I would be happier in the clinical lab, where I had a lot of control over my work environment. The more I worked in lab, the more I found myself being interested in, and asking questions about, patients – not only the samples I was testing/processing. I decided to change careers, work in clinics and expose myself to the practice of medicine to see if I would be happier on the “other side” of healthcare. I found patients’ stories fascinating and loved all the interesting work that clinicians get to do day-to-day and found a real appreciation for the impact that physicians can have on the lives of others. Though the physician pursuit came late to me, I find myself enjoying every day of my training and look forward to the challenges ahead, the interesting questions we get to ask (and sometimes answer!), and the impactful work we do.

Favorite place to eat in Athens:

Hands-down Agua Linda! Right across the street from campus. Try the al pastor tacos, and thank me later! 🙂

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? – Through the challenging year that 2020 was, one person’s presence has stood out to me as singularly impactful, and he happens to be an author of our Harrison’s internal medicine text, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The more I hear him speak, and the more I learn about the work he’s done (from the HIV epidemic to the COVID pandemic), the more I appreciate Dr. Fauci for his role in infectious disease and public health in our country. I see him as an exemplar for a physician scientists, and I’d love to pick his brain and see how he thinks, about the many projects he’s been involved with and the role he has played in our healthcare system.

For more information about attending the Medical College of Georgia at the Medical Partnership campus

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