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Dr. Deepa Halaharvi Gives Commencement Address at Her Medical School

Earlier this month, Deepa Halaharvi, DO, an OhioHealth breast cancer surgeon, gave the keynote address at the graduation ceremony of her medical school – Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.  She also received an honorary doctorate. 

On the 10 year anniversary of her own medical school graduation, Dr. Halaharvi spoke about being a breast surgeon, a breast cancer patient and now a breast cancer survivor.

Dr. Halaharvi overcame many challenges over the course of receiving her education. She worked as a licensed practical nurse at night during her undergraduate years to pay for college. Later, her father suffered a stroke. While helping to take care of him, she went to school to become a physician assistant, then decided to go to medical school at KCU while also raising children of her own.

“Yes, I chose the road less traveled,” Dr. Halaharvi told the graduates.

From there, it was a general surgery residency at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, followed by a breast surgery fellowship at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center.

After being a breast surgeon for 8 months, Dr. Halaharvi found herself in her patients’ shoes. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I became the statistic I tell my patients,” she said. “1 in 8 women gets breast cancer. I want to tell you today to remember that there are real people behind those statistics and numbers we quote as physicians. Those are not just numbers. I have seen both sides of the experience as a breast cancer surgeon and a breast cancer patient. I have gained unique insight into what it is like to face cancer. My journey has taught me that character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through trial and suffering the soul can be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Cancer has become a blessing to me now. Three years later I have greater compassion and empathy for my patients…and have gained (strength and endurance).”

You can watch Dr. Halaharvi’s full commencement address in the video player above. 

Congratulations to Dr. Halaharvi on her keynote address and honorary doctorate!

To learn more about breast cancer services at OhioHealth, click here.

To learn more about medical education at OhioHealth, click here.