TAMPA, Fla. — A King High School senior is already making a name for herself in the medical community. Susmita Gudla recently presented at the International Academy for Cardiovascular Sciences, and she is using her research to help her community.
Gudla attends King High School in the IB program, a very aggressive academic program where students earn college credits while still in high school.
“People always say the IB program is so hard, and it is, but you have to stay on top of your stuff,” she said.
Even with those obligations, Gudla also finds time to pursue her passion.
“My passion mainly started from volunteering in India at these free clinics," she said.
Her parents immigrated to Florida from India. At those clinics, she says she saw poverty first hand.
“I saw these clinics turn away a lot of people because of their financial inability, and I came here, back to the states, and basically I live in a suburban community, it’s something I never really experienced," she said. "But as I started looking more into my community, and my surroundings, I realized this isn’t a problem abroad, an ocean away, it’s a problem like 15 miles from my house and I wanted to do something for my community.”
So she did do something for her community. Gudla helped conduct a two-year long study with the Florida Department of Health. She was the only high school student on the team, and she presented the findings at the International Academy for Cardiovascular Sciences.
“My research poster was titled, 'A Study of the Impact of Physician and Educational Intervention in Underserved Communities,'" she said.
Because of her time in India, and research here at home, Gudla helped open the Grace Community Medical Center in Ybor City.
“I was there all the planning months, the construction of the clinic, I was there, I went door to door in this community handing out flyers for the clinic, telling people, hey come get checked out, the clinic is here for this community,” she said.
Now, when she’s not at school, she spends a lot of time at the clinic, where people can come in and receive free medical care. Meanwhile, her research on the disparities in health care in underserved communities continues.
“It's something I’m super interested in and passionate about so it’s not like work to me, or something I have to do, it’s something I got involved in through my own passion. I love being here,” she said.
Gudla plans on becoming a doctor, and through her dedication to helping others, she’s hoping to make a difference in many lives.