In recognition of excellence across multiple fields, rising junior Prathamesh Chati has been named the 2020 Florence Moog Scholar.
When Prathamesh Chati, a rising junior in Arts & Sciences, was deciding on which university to attend, Washington University in St. Louis stood out to him for its pre-health opportunities – especially its emphasis on medicine and innovation, in addition to patient care.
But he was also interested in continuing his love of music, playing the piano, which he’s been doing as long as he can remember. “Music is more than a hobby to me; it’s an extension of myself. I knew when I came to WashU that whatever else I did on campus I would continue to be involved with music in some way,” Chati shared.
It’s that duality of interests and involvement across both medicine and music that led to Chati being named the 2020 Florence Moog Scholar. This merit-based scholarship recognizes one sophomore in Arts & Sciences who is preparing for a career in science and shows excellence in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field as well as one other area distinct from STEM. In learning more about Florence Moog while applying for the scholarship, Chati was struck by the work she did in addition to her contributions in science and medicine. “That’s a philosophy I really try and carry through my work in biomedical engineering and building community, as well. I’m very open to learning new things, and I’ve aimed to create an interdisciplinary education for myself, because innovation requires a lot of different viewpoints,” Chati reflected.
The desire to strive toward innovation is evident in Chati’s involvement with Sling Health STL. The organization brings together a diverse group of students, clinicians, and local entrepreneurs to develop and commercialize solutions to improve patient health care. “People assume that being Pre-Health means you take a traditional approach. I want to go to medical school, but I also want to work alongside the entrepreneurial and venture capital aspect of medicine,” Chati said.
Over the summer, Chati spent time working on two projects through Sling Health STL: an SMS system that would help simplify medical terminology, specifically for low-income groups with low rates of medical literacy, and a case management system for housing communities in St. Louis that will help direct people in low-income housing areas to COVID testing centers. As Chati explained, “since Missouri hasn’t expanded Medicaid, there’s a gap in information on where they are able to get tested. These are some of the underserved communities that have been hit the hardest by the lack of testing. So, this system will ask the patient a series of questions to determine if they are low, medium, or high risk and direct them to the closest testing center.” The system is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), and the team is expecting to start pilot testing soon.
Aadit Shah, Chati’s mentor and current President of Sling Health STL, who has been working with him on both of these projects, emphasized that “[Chati] is really cognizant of the needs, not just of the WashU undergraduate population, but also of the greater St. Louis community, and he’s really driven by a desire to make an impact on the community as a whole.”
That passion for community can also be seen in his engagement with music. Chati is involved in Beat Therapy, a music community service group that engages a variety of communities and groups throughout the St. Louis area with music.
During his first year he admits that he was under the impression that his fellow WashU students only cared about studying and medicine. “I think it might have been truer at first, but the longer I was on campus and got to know my classmates, I realize there’s more diversity among the students than that. They have so many passions and interests,” Chati said.