At 29 years old, Mohit Sodhi’s CV is so stacked with accomplishments that it’s hard to believe he is just one person.
In a way, he’s not. That’s because the University of B.C. medical student who was just named one of Forbes Top 30 Under 30 in Healthcare isn’t really in it alone.
He’s in it with his sister, Rishika.
Rishika, who has complex medical needs including cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, severe autism and mental-health issues, can’t attend classes, or publish groundbreaking research, and probably will never receive a medal, but she’s been part of Sodhi’s journey every step of the way.
“She’s my motivation, and she is the reason I am doing all of this,” said Sodhi, who lives at home with his parents and helps them manage her care.
He spent a few weeks in October fielding international media after his groundbreaking study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed Ozempic and other weight loss drugs may cause increased risk of severe stomach problems.
Sodhi has over 35 peer-reviewed publications, including research identifying cardiac issues from a common antibiotic (fluoroquinolone) that led to regulatory agencies revising their recommendations for its use, and another study showing a strong link between eye damage and the use of erectile dysfunction drugs.
He’s also got a Governor General’s Gold Medal for the most outstanding academic record among all master’s students at UBC.
“Awards are secondary to me. I really just want to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Sodhi, who was filling out applications for medical residencies this week when he spoke with Postmedia News.
No one in his family works in medicine, but his interest has been unshakable, in part because from the time his sister was born he was tagging along to medical appointments.
While his friends were at playdates, he was often the other kid in the hospital room, the emergency room, the orthopedic ward, observing the medical professionals work with his sister and his parents as they dealt with the challenges of her complex medical conditions.
“It was one medical need after another,” he said.
At five years old, he asked his parents for a toy doctor’s kit.
“My sister always had fantastic specialists and pediatricians growing up. Seeing how much of a difference they made in her life, their patience and kindness, their ability to look after a patient and their family in times of great distress made a great impression on me,” said Sodhi. “I remember every one of them.”
When the going gets tough — there have been many sleepless nights of studying — Sodhi, who is also cofounder of the YNOTFORTOTS Society, a charity that has donated over $210,000 worth of equipment to dozens of local elementary schools, said he relies on the support of his parents, partner, friends and mentors.
And his sister, well, she helps out just by being herself and keeping him grounded.
“She’s still my little sister, I’m still her big brother, we’re like any siblings,” said Sodhi.
Somewhere in the basement of the house he shares with Rishika and his parents, he still has that toy medical kit too, with its plastic stethoscope, syringe and reflex hammer — a reminder that great achievements sometimes have very modest beginnings.
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