OWU senior to study medical delivery in India


Ohio Wesleyan University senior Mayukha Dyta, of Powell, has earned a highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant to spend nine months in India studying the country’s medical diagnostic and treatment delivery methods in urban versus rural areas.

Specifically, Dyta has earned a Fulbright-Nehru Student Research grant to support a project titled “Diagnosing Diversity: Differences in Managing and Treating Pluralistic Patient Populations.” She will complete her work at Goa Medical College and Hospital in Goa, India, where she already has completed two summer research projects with grant support from Ohio Wesleyan’s signature program, the OWU Connection.

Each of Dyta’s previous projects – “Teaching Medical Diversity: How Indian Medical Schools Prepare Their Students for Diverse Patient Population” in 2022 and “Books to Pills: How Medical Education is Translated to Treatment in Indian Medical Systems” in 2023 – laid the foundation for her successful Fulbright application.

“So far, I have researched how the Indian medical education system teaches their students how to become doctors, and in what ways/methods these students engage in medicine throughout their time as a student,” said Dyta, a Pre-Medicine and Sociology/Anthropology double major and a Chemistry and Women’s & Gender Studies double minor at Ohio Wesleyan.

“The Fulbright will be a continuation of this process,” she said, “and will focus more on how these students learn different diagnostic methods, and how their learned processes of treatment are molded by the patient and area they are treating in, whether that be urban or rural areas.

“It is a personal and professional goal of mine to create cross-cultural connections between different medical practices,” said Dyta, who recalls her family using turmeric to help prevent infections, taking cloves to tackle headaches, and employing similar culture-based treatments as she grew up.

“I believe varying perspectives on the same topic can yield better findings, especially in a field as variable and ever-changing as medicine,” she said. “Thus, beyond establishing rapport with students and professors, this project aims to create an online networking site for medical students, professionals, and traditional medicine professionals to communicate with each other on an even platform.”

After completing her Fulbright experience, Dyta plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology.

“I would like to use my Ph.D. to focus on explanatory models of medicine and diagnosis – meaning, how medical professionals learn diagnoses and what processes are taken to understand the ailment presented to them – and subsequently use my dual degree to create collaborative medicine wings in medical schools and academia that focus on the importance of malleability within biomedicine,” she said. “The Fulbright grant is imperative to my success for my future career and goals and is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to creating medical spaces full of diversity, mutual communication, and understanding in all shades of medicine.”

To achieve her educational and research ambitions, Dyta also has worked as a research intern and volunteer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center since 2019 and at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s in Westerville since 2022.

Ohio Wesleyan faculty member Franchesca Nestor, Ph.D., the university’s director of fellowships, advised Dyta on her Fulbright application and said she is an ideal grant recipient.

“Mayukha is incredibly open, curious, and bright,” said Nestor, an associate professor of Politics & Government. “She is interested and capable in both the natural sciences and social sciences, and understands that medicine is not immune from human decisions and cultural differences.

“She also cares deeply about this research,” Nestor said. “She is motivated to do it because she wants to improve health, and because it connects to her own experiences as a child of immigrants from India. Having spent four months total in India doing the pilot version of this research, she has already demonstrated her ability to represent the U.S. in this context. Not to mention, even if that weren’t true, she is so interested in her work and in others that she would be a positive influence wherever she went.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries. Founded in 1946, the program currently operates in more than 160 countries and awards approximately 8,000 merit-based grants every year to accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals. To date, 41 Fulbright Program alumni have served as heads of state or government, 62 have been awarded Nobel Prizes, 80 have been named MacArthur Foundation Fellows, and 89 have earned Pulitzer Prizes. For more information, visit https://fulbrightscholars.org.

Submitted by Ohio Wesleyan University.

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