WSU premedical student focuses on underserved parts of Kansas
Karissa Gilchrist plans to help others by someday becoming a doctor. The Wichita State senior not only wants to practice medicine, but also hopes to offer convenient health care to people living in low-populated areas of the state.
“It is my dream to be a genuine, caring, passionate and dependable physician for people in rural Kansas,” said Gilchrist. “I want to provide people with a reliable option for treatment rather than make them feel forced to travel to a bigger city with more options.”
As a child, Gilchrist lived in Arnett, a small town in northwest Oklahoma. Arnett’s closest hospital is 15 minutes outside of town, but many residents choose to drive an extra two hours to ensure better medical care.
“People living in small towns, such as Arnett, should be able to trust and believe in their hometown doctor,” she said.
Gilchrist, majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry, said one of her favorite aspects about premedical studies is the complexity of the human body.
“The body has so many critical pathways and processes, as well as ways to correct itself if those processes fail,” she said. “It amazes me that more doesn’t go wrong in the body all the time.”
Reflecting on time at WSU
After graduating from WSU in May, Gilchrist will attend the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita for four years. She then plans to complete a three-year residency program in family medicine.
While at Wichita State, Gilchrist has been involved in Student Ambassador Society, Premedical Student Association, Golden Key International Honors Society and is a Dean’s Scholar. She is also a member of the KU School of Medicine Scholars in Rural Health.
“During my medical school interview, I was questioned on what characteristics I thought made a good physician and how I had demonstrated those characteristics in my life,” she said. “After reflecting on my answer, I realized that every experience I spoke of was a result of my time at WSU.”
Gilchrist is most grateful for the lasting relationships she developed with WSU faculty, staff and fellow students.
“College is more than building a resume; it’s about experiencing all that you can and learning about yourself in the process,” she said.
Gilchrist also said that because of Wichita State’s urban location, she was able to shadow physicians in multiple specialties, which helped her decide which career path she wanted to pursue.
To gain experience in a doctor’s office before graduating, Gilchrist received her Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA) license and has been a medical assistant for a year at Via Christi Clinic in Andover, Kan.