Before her career as a healthcare professional, Preeti Bansal Kshirsagar (M.P.H. ‘15) was a software engineer. A decade into her career path, Preeti developed a strong awareness of our environment and lifestyle’s influence on human health, which led her to the field of integrative health where she felt she could have a more direct impact on individuals. After shadowing faculty at the School of Public Health, and with the support of her community, she took the plunge back into higher education.
“Coming from an engineering background also meant a long list of prerequisite courses for me,” Preeti says of navigating her career change. “Without the guidance and encouragement of the faculty and the staff at Rackham, I would not have been able to get through those prerequisites and embark upon my graduate journey.”
During her graduate experience, she was drawn to areas of interest including epidemiology, genetics, nutrition, and environmental health. Preeti also gained extensive insight into scientific research and attended specialty classes like phytonutrients and epigenetics. “This helped me in distinguishing science-based nutrition from the fad-based dietary noise that is ubiquitous in the wellness industry,” Preeti says.
After two years, she graduated with a specialization in human nutrition, public health genetics, risk assessment and environmental health. During her program, she designed her own internship focused on integrative health and was given several opportunities to attend conferences in the field of functional and integrative medicine. “All these experiences along with the knowledge that I gained in school,” she says, “were instrumental in creating and achieving the vision for my career in the integrative medicine industry.”
This well-rounded education played a key role in her career as an independent practitioner and owner of Cincinnati’s Integrative Nutrition & Healing. Her academic and professional path is an illustration of the diversity of careers that lie ahead for Rackham students, and Preeti stresses the spirit of innovation to graduate students who hope to forge their own path.
“Don’t be afraid of creating your own vision for your career and thinking outside the box to turn your vision into your reality,” she says. “Network and connect with people in your field of interest, but do not allow yourself to believe that you can only do what they have already done—know that you are capable of doing something completely new.”
Preeti notes the Rackham network’s positive impact on both her credibility and access to opportunity, saying it has helped open many doors for her since completing her degree. “Even today, many years after graduating, I do not hesitate in reaching out to my alma mater for guidance and resources. The faculty members and staff will always support their students, even after they have graduated. I feel that Rackham Graduate School is a lifetime connection for us, just like our own family, so forge strong bonds while you’re still in school and do not hesitate to fall back on them in the future.”