Global Impact of a Brief Life Commemorated with Nehal A. Shah Memorial Global Health Award
This award is given annually to a 4th year medical student for outstanding dedication to and leadership in global health. It is presented from an endowment fund established in memory of University of Arizona College of Medicine student Nehal Shah.
Nehal died May 4 in Phoenix following a long struggle with depression, 11 days before she would have graduated with her medical degree. Shortly after her death, Nehal’s parents and her classmates started a memorial fund in her name. The Nehal A. Shah Endowment for Global Health Education, in the UArizona Department of Family and Community Medicine, will help UArizona medical students travel to the people who most need them.
“Nehal always wanted to get to the root of everything; she wanted to make a difference,” remembered her parents, Anil and Surekha Shah of Phoenix. Nehal hoped to better society by extending her knowledge of medicine to the less fortunate, locally and globally.
“What inspires me is the belief that healing involves more than treating individual health needs, but rather means to fight for humanity, human dignity and justice,” Nehal wrote in her personal statement on entering the college.
Her short life was full of accomplishment. Nehal graduated from high school in only three years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Arizona. At age 20, she traveled to the slums of Mumbai, India, to care for those in need. During medical school, she started and managed a medical magazine, attended the AIDS Leadership Institute and helped plan the American Medical Student Association National Circle of Healers Retreat.