Shiv Gangli left medical school at Johns Hopkins in his second year to see if it was possible to earn an MD online. Now, you might ask: how does this relate to me? It can be frightening to take a gap year and pursue something that is not related to gaining clinical hours, such as opening a business like Gangli did; however, it can pay off in the end! It all comes down to weighing the risks and seeing what you want to do. Gangli was worrying as much about how risky the decision was when he first made his choice.
At the time he left medical school, Gangli and his co-founder started working on the learning platform Osmosis.org, which was instrumental to many of his classmates and him acing medical school exams. The goal of Osmosis was to make medical education more efficient and to include evidence-based studying methods, flipped classrooms, test-similar learning, and personalization of the content through recommended short videos. One quote that Gangli used to describe his experience leaving medical school was one stated by Bill Gates: “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years”.
Osmosis grew from a class of 120 medical students to over 3 million users all around the world, including other various healthcare professions like physician assistant, pharmacy, dentistry, and nursing. Osmosis also joins with Elsevier, which is an older medical and scientific publisher that helped develop Osmosis. While Gangli was enjoying his experience growing Osmosis, his goal of becoming a doctor was slowly waning.
However, earlier in 2023, Gangli went back to Hopkins as a third-year medical student to finish up the rest of his education. He had six main reasons for doing so:
The first is that he wanted to directly help patients, as it was a privilege and gave him purpose. Gangli wants the one-on-one connection with patients who have different backgrounds as well as the knowledge to be there for a patient on their worst and best days. He had felt more fulfilled partaking in initiatives at Osmosis that had to do with directly helping patients, like the focus on the rare disorder community through the many comments received on those particular content videos.
The second reason is that learning medicine has become even more engaging and effective for Gangli. He uses Osmosis daily to help retain information, as an example. Gangli also just wants to learn more about the human body after not having the chance to finish learning that information when he left medical school in his second year.
The third reason is that he wanted to utilize his clinical experience and entrepreneurial experience in building Osmosis to strengthen and change the healthcare system. Gangli learned a lot about different concepts about the healthcare system, so seeing that being applied is something he wants to partake in.
The fourth reason Gangli wants to continue medicine is that hard tasks were fulfilling. The frustrations and fear of having to get back into medical school after taking such a gap is challenging as well as motivating him to change the healthcare system.
The fifth reason that he is back as a medical student is that he wants to be a part of the research, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) and psychedelics. Hopkins has a history of using AI to solve health problems, doing electives with such topics is something he wants to fulfill.
The last reason that he decides to keep going is to finish his personal and family dream of becoming a physician. One quote from his medical application that summarizes this is: “My determination to become a physician was initiated by a sense of compassion, advanced by the excitement and promise of medical research, and strengthened by the realization that doctors can simultaneously contribute to individual patients as well as general society through their leadership”. Additionally, his family includes refugees from the Indo-Pakistan partition; the support, as well as their background, motivates him to be a physician for them.
The reasons that Gangli has to pursue medicine are reasons many of us can connect to and include in our own applications. The journey is long and difficult, but it is worth it in the long run if being a healthcare professional is what you desire.
Thank you for reading!