Student Testimonials

The System Medicine programs aim to prepare our students for the opportunities that lie ahead and are invested in providing the training, resources, and personalized career strategies for our students to have a more direct path to their desired careers. Our motto is: Enter to Study, Go out to Serve.

What do our students have to say?

MS Students

“The Systems Medicine program is a truly unique program that offers students exposure to study and learn at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data. It offers a personalized experience within the larger Georgetown University Medical Center ecosystem for students to explore their interests and find a niche at the frontier of healthcare.

The Systems Medicine program enabled me to develop a new skill set that is incredibly relevant for the future of patient-centered care. While acknowledging the importance of clinical and genomic data integration, the Systems Medicine program helped me to establish a foundation of a preventative, predictive, personalized approach to healthcare. I was able to work within a team of radiation oncologists at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital to explore sociodemographic factors that impact Stage IV breast cancer presentation in the United States. From this experience, I came away with a new skill set and familiarity with clinical informatics. Simultaneously, I was exposed to complexities of data sharing, access to care, and differences in outcomes. 

Despite the disruption to a virtual learning environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our professors maintained the rigor of the curriculum and commitment to supporting us in our next steps. Classes were transitioned online seamlessly to ensure continuity of instruction and learning.”

Rhea Bhatt ’20, MS in Systems Medicine

“For someone like me who has always been fascinated by science, the Systems Medicine program was a precious gift for advancing my career. Georgetown University’s “cura personalis” approach is the essence of this program. It is recognized in medicine that the “one-size-fits-all” approach can be improved upon, but it is easier said than done. Who would have thought this point will come out so forcefully in the search for competing medications, and their varied effects on patients, to stop the spread of COVID-19? One of the hallmarks of this program is its strong emphasis on the cura personalis approach to thinking about medicine and the courses are aligned with this idea. Course work covers -omics and its interaction with external factors such as microbiota, environment, and diet in different disease studies, and analyzing BIG Data using informatics concepts and machine learning with tools such as R using publically available databases. Critical reading of research articles and biomolecular structural studies is emphasized. Lectures by several eminent scientists gave me a view of what is happening at the frontiers. Our Director and my mentor, Dr. Vasudevan, taught me invaluable skills that allowed me to be employed as an informatics analyst at the prestigious Emory University’s Pediatric Department and work for a renowned scientist and physician. Without the Systems Medicine program, this would not have been possible for me.” 

Sushma C. Maddipatla ’19, MS in Systems Medicine

“The Systems Medicine program at Georgetown was an amazing experience and taught me so much about aspects of precision medicine that I had never even heard of before. Dr. Vasudevan is the best advisor I have ever had, and she makes the program what it is. I always get questions about the Systems Medicine program during my interviews and I know that doing this program has helped my career.”

Haris Pepermintwala ’19, MS in Systems Medicine

“Studying Systems Medicine was one of their best decisions I have made for my medical career. The Georgetown Community and resources made available are a true privilege and second to none. The faculty of this program is extremely considerate and invested in not only student success during the program but also the long-term success and fulfillment of student goals. As a current medical student Systems Medicine has advanced the way that I am able to consider and understand the material I learn. Thinking about medicine in the context of big data, and regarding the social and ethical issues that face the field with an understanding of a systems perspective allows me to have a unique point of view.

This program has majorly shaped my aspirations in practicing medicine and has opened up doors to amazing opportunities, networks of people, and lasting relationships with mentors and classmates. During medical school interviews, my studies were a major topic of interest and discussion because this program made me stand out as a candidate, by offering me a perspective that is unique to Systems medicine students. As technology and the data that follows rapidly advances and accumulates systems medicine is more and more so necessary for health professionals to serve efficiently and optimally. Bridging the gaps between disciplines, operating platforms, and issues is the power that comes with systems medicine. Understanding patients thoroughly on a scientific basis through the “omics” such as genomics, metabolomics allows us to advance our ability to truly deliver precision medicine. I am forever thankful and connected to my Systems Medicine family!”

Brandon Buonaiut ’19, MS in Systems Medicine

“Healthcare providers possess incredible skills to prevent, heal, and manage diseases, and this is something that I have always dreamed of doing. However, when I found that there is still much we do not fully understand in the clinical realm despite past scientific successes and rapidly growing technologies, I realized that we have a long way to go before we can truly provide precise and effective care to all. My degree in Systems Medicine has armed me with the necessary tools and knowledge that I need to face uncertainties head-on and provide meaningful, inclusive care to patients as a future nurse practitioner.”

Arezo Aziz ’19, MS in Systems Medicine

“The Systems Medicine Program at Georgetown University provides courses covering almost every aspect we need to fill the gap between bench work and clinical practice. We have Introduction to Genomic Medicine to learn about how genetics interferes with medical decisions such as prescription selection, screening tests for different people, prediction model guided treatments; Biomedical Informatics to learn about different information resources used by the healthcare providers, how different systems are intergraded to clinics and how we can improve them; we have Structural Biology, Biochemistry to understand principle of biomedicine; Personalized Medicine to learn and practice Omics techniques; different omics application classes (Clinical Metabolomics, Clinical Applications of the Microbiota), informatics classes(Cancer Bioinformatics, Translational Bioinformatics, Clinical Bioinformatics) as well as computational and statistical analysis classes (Machine Learning for Biomedical Data, Application of Biostatistics to “BIG DATA”) to prepare students become omics experts to help to advance medicine. Students graduated from the program can have multiple career choices in the biomedical field. They can go to medical school and become a physician with system thinking, they can become bioinformatician and biostatistician help analyzing biomedical data and translate the biomedical findings, they can become research associates performing the omics-technologies, etc.

I became a medical informatics analyst in a regional health care system after graduation. What I benefit the most from the program is the Biomedical Informatics class I took during the first semester when I joined the program. Thanks to the class, I was exposed to the all the knowledge I would need for my job and cannot learn elsewhere (Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, RedCap, the infostructure of the healthcare system, the privacy, confidentiality and security, mobile health implementation, interoperability, and standards), I became a RedCap Administrator starting to answer phone calls to physicians, pulling data from the EHR for analysis, designing databases for data collection the second day I joined MedStar. People were surprised how I picked up things that quickly, I would say it’s because the Systems Medicine Program had prepared me well to fill this gap between biomedical research and medical practice with system thinking.”

Xu Huang ’19, MS in Systems Medicine

“My time at the Systems Medicine Master’s program was a great learning opportunity to grow and develop my career.  It was a well-rounded and interdisciplinary program that harness the power of different fields to teach students how to draw complex conclusions in the medical field.”

Anas Belouali ’18, MS in Systems Medicine

“I was trying to figure out a way to stay engaged with current topics in the biomedical and healthcare fields, and Systems Medicine helped me achieve just that! I am deeply grateful to Dr. Sona Vasudevan for the extraordinary learning opportunity. Under her leadership, the program had enabled me to gain a better understanding of how clinical data is managed and understood to analyze the health of the individual patient, a leap in providing personalized care to our society.”

Khuyen Mai ’18, MS in Systems Medicine, currently at Georgetown University

“The Systems Medicine program taught me the value of big data and showed me how it can be applied to questions in medicine and translational research. Systems Medicine cemented my interest in pursuing a career in medicine. The program shows students how various -omic fields can be applied in a clinical environment. The Systems Medicine program offered me a variety of opportunities to learn how genomics research is impacting patient care. I was taught skills that were incredibly useful for my career after I graduated.” 

Henry Walch ’18, MS in Systems Medicine

“For someone who is new to the American academic system, Systems medicine and Georgetown gave me all the confidence to pursue higher goals in Healthcare. The program has shaped my aspirations to do research and pursue a medical career.”

Vaishnavi Narayan ’18, MS in Systems Medicine

“I was extremely pleased to be accepted into the Systems Medicine program during my first year of medical school at GUSOM. The courses included everything from Epidemiology to Applied Biostatistics in R to learning how to write a good IRB proposal. It was everything I needed to feel confident that I could meaningfully contribute as a member of a clinical research team, and I have already used many of the skills I learned from this program in real-life research. I remember the first time a PI asked me if I knew how to do a particular kind of data analysis and I could answer, “Yes! They taught me how to do this exact thing in class!” I continue to build on the foundational concepts I learned in this program and still refer back to my notes, presentations, and textbooks today. Doing research is such an important part of building a good CV for residency applications and beyond, and more importantly, I now have the skills I need to be able to formulate my own research questions and to begin finding out the answers.”

Mario Giovianni ’17, MD/MS in Systems Medicine

“For a student looking towards a career in Medical research, the prime question is what program to get a Master’s in. And at such a point in life, the best program would be one that provides an overview of every field in Medicine that requires researchers. The Master’s in Systems Medicine did exactly that. The program perfectly integrates every “Omics” data out there and helps understand every aspect of health care from the molecular level to the Policy level. I was given every opportunity to go out of my way and know more about what is being taught and to perform the best. This program helps transition into any Medical Science and helps us think in multiple dimensions, which is essential for research. One of the biggest exposures that SYSM gave me was the experience of interning under a physician. I worked with Dr. Baranuik at the Central Research Unit, where we interacted with patients and was given real patient data for my project. Connecting with the patients made me realize the power and importance of research. SYSM was my stepping stone to a PhD. If you are driven towards saving lives and making an impact on society, you know this is the right program for you.”

Archana Hari ’17, MS in Systems Medicine

MD/MS Students

“I was extremely pleased to be accepted into the Systems Medicine program during my first year of medical school at GUSOM. The courses included everything from Epidemiology to Applied Biostatistics in R to learning how to write a good IRB proposal. It was everything I needed to feel confident that I could meaningfully contribute as a member of a clinical research team, and I have already used many of the skills I learned from this program in real-life research. I remember the first time a PI asked me if I knew how to do a particular kind of data analysis and I could answer, “Yes! They taught me how to do this exact thing in class!” I continue to build on the foundational concepts I learned in this program and still refer back to my notes, presentations, and textbooks today. Doing research is such an important part of building a good CV for residency applications and beyond, and more importantly, I now have the skills I need to be able to formulate my own research questions and to begin finding out the answers.”

Mario Giovianni ’17, MD/MS in Systems Medicine

“In the traditional curriculum, medical students are not being trained to meaningfully interpret the ‘big data’ that is generated from advanced clinical informatics and ‘-omics’ technologies. I decided to study Systems Medicine in order to be prepared to serve my patients in this data-rich biomedical and clinical environment. Every oncologist and pathologist, and many other types of physician-scientists, will need this training in the near future. For the good of our patients, physicians like me will need to make sense of this data when it crosses our desks…”

Sister Grace Miriam Usala ’16, MD/MS in Systems Medicine

“I believe the masters in systems medicine was the impetus for much of my research interest and activities thereafter. It provided a broad education in the ways that so many factors influence health beyond what is currently employed as diagnostics tests in medicine. In the years since completing my masters’ degrees, I have employed much of the knowledge gained in “omics”, statistics, and bioinformatics to both augment my own research and understand the literature in oncology. I am grateful for the chance to have studied these topics in medical school and have since returned to teach in the program as well.”

Nima Aghdam ’16, MD/MS in Systems Medicine