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Perfect vision

Scholarship support helps medical student ensure he becomes the best physician he can

Shivam Gulhar (B.S.’17/H&S) first saw a medical career in his future when he went blind for two weeks because of a misdiagnosed corneal ulcer.

“I was scared that I would lose my vision forever, and the only person who could calm me down was my ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital,” Gulhar says. “Since then, I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor to make others feel as safe as I felt with my physician.”

Gulhar was even more confident that medicine was his calling when he received the Sarah Snyder Laughon Medical Scholarship upon enrolling in 2017 at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

“Medical school is extremely expensive,” he says. “I’m grateful to receive a scholarship. I work hard every day and I try my best, so to have that positive reinforcement is an acknowledgement that I'm on the right path.”

Gulhar, who is also a graduate of the VCU Honors College, has used his time in medical school to pursue opportunities to practice patient-centered care in a variety of medical specialties. Scholarship support, he says, has given him a sense of financial security that enables him to shape his career path based on the patients he will serve, not the salary he will earn.

“The financial burden of medical school can put pressure on a student to pick a high-paying specialty not because they’re passionate about it but because they have debt to pay off,” he explains. “That takes away from the sacredness of the job. My goal is to become the best physician I can be. Whatever field I choose, I know that I’m going to give it my all.”