Mohan Nadkarni, M.D., known to his friends as “Mo,” has two passions when it comes to practicing medicine: serving the underserved and teaching. As chief of general internal medicine at UVA and the Harry T. Peters Jr. Professor of Internal Medicine, Nadkarni has developed a pair of courses for first- and second-year medical students.
“I have always been drawn to health care for the underserved as one of the most direct ways of helping people who need it most.”
—Mohan Nadkarni, M.D.
One, titled Social Issues in Medicine, focuses on teaching first-year medical students to analyze the interrelationships between sociocultural environments and the occurrence, prevention, and treatment of disease.
The course for second-year students—Health and Medicine: Interconnections and Implications—is geared toward an understanding of policy, ethics, socioeconomics, and the ways they intersect with the practice of medicine. Both courses deal with how social determinants, such as education and income, can act as barriers to health care for underserved segments of the population—an issue Nadkarni knows well.
During his residency in internal medicine at UVA in 1992, he co-founded the Charlottesville Free Clinic with fellow resident Paul DeMarco, M.D. The clinic—a key part of the Charlottesville community—serves thousands of people each year, offering high-quality health care to the working underserved population, which would otherwise have no access to care.
“I have always been drawn to health care for the underserved as one of the most direct ways of helping people who need it most,” he said. “I love the feeling of knowing that, perhaps by just listening and being with a patient, I may help them through their darkest time. I also love teaching residents and medical students, particularly about social influences on the health of their patients.”
Holding the endowed professorship has allowed him to broaden his reach through the development and teaching of the new courses. Established by the Board of Visitors in 1986, the professorship has a five-year appointment with an annual stipend. It was made possible through a gift from the estate of Harry T. Peters Jr., who died in 1981. Peters owned Windholme Farms in Orange, Virginia, where he raised shorthorn cattle and greyhound dogs. He was also a judge at Westminster Kennel Club shows.
Nadkarni expressed gratitude for the freedom to pursue his passions. “I am grateful and indebted to the Peters family for allowing me the freedom to pursue innovations in teaching,” he said.