Master of Public Health Student
When Surbhi Grover was 15, her family packed up and moved from a small town in Northern India to Queens, New York. The 7,000-mile transition was rough, but Grover thrived in her new high school, a multicultural hub. After graduating as valedictorian and heading to Columbia University, Grover was ready to travel again, this time to teach English and work in Keta, a small rural village in Ghana. There, she met people afflicted by treatable and preventable conditions, including 3-year-old twins whose parents had died of malaria.
“Realizing that such access issues existed in many parts of the world was unsettling for me,” Grover recalls. She responded by organizing a UNICEF chapter at Columbia and getting involved in education and health projects in Harlem. During medical school at Harvard, Grover used fellowship money to work on cardiovascular disease prevention programs in Bhopal, India, and develop a health education curriculum for women at a domestic violence shelter in Boston. Later, on another fellowship in India, she was struck by a lack of preventive care, especially among women dying of cervical cancer. “It was not complicated medical problems with very expensive solutions that were killing these young women,” she says. “It was a cancer easily prevented by a cheap screening tool.”