Sara Kesh Makes Lifestyle Changes to be Role Model for Future Patients

Comparing pictures from her White Coat ceremony, and one of herself now, Sara Kesh sees a totally different person.

Since starting her medical school journey at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Sara has taken it upon herself to not only prioritize her studies, but also to prioritize her personal health, hoping to set an example for the patients she treats and for the future learners that follow in her footsteps.

The result has been the development of a healthier, more active lifestyle, and a shedding of 90 pounds since her White Coat ceremony.

“As a future physician you’re a role model to your patients, and I thought it would be difficult for me to counsel a patient on weight loss when I had a BMI of 43 when I was 21 years old,” she said. “So in just thinking about my patients and how I need to be a role model for them, that’s what motivated me to make this lifestyle change.”

She said utilizing the wellness resources offered at the UK College of Medicine helped her take control of her own life. She feels invigorated that she’s making a fresh start.

After beginning medical school, Sara avoided fad diets and instead made gradual changes, cutting out processed foods and sugary drinks. And it worked, but after six months or so, her weight loss came to a stall.

That’s when the support from her classmates became very important. Originally a bit nervous to go to the gym by herself, she asked a couple of her fellow medical students to join. A couple of students turned into a group who consistently went to the gym three to four times a week. And thanks to the College of Medicine’s convenient class times from 8 a.m.-noon, as well as advanced technology that allowed Sara to gather some of her course material online and through recordings, Sara said she was able to set aside time to work out and plan her meals.

Beyond working on her physical health, Sara was also able to take advantage of other wellness opportunities, both University- and college-wide, which offered students, faculty, and staff a holistic approach to health and well-being at UK. Resources provided include, but are not limited to, access to top-notch recreational facilities, counseling services, and various wellness-oriented smartphone applications.

Sara also enjoyed having the opportunity to volunteer outside of the classroom. As a medical student, she has contributed her time to the Salvation Army Clinic, a free, student-run clinic that provides medical students the opportunity to learn more about patient care through firsthand experience treating Lexington’s underserved populations. Knowing she wanted to help underserved communities in the future, Sara enrolled in the College of Medicine’s Rural Physician Leadership Program in Morehead, Ky., and because of this has developed specialized training in community medicine. She’s looking forward to using her skills and her own health journey to treat patients in these communities. In her current pursuit, she has taken on the challenging role of expanding the People’s Free Clinic of Morehead into a student-run clinic that will run monthly health seminars.

Sara didn’t know whether she’d be able to prioritize her health when she started medical school, assuming that studies and clinical practice would take up all of her time. Now, ready to graduate, and then head to her anesthesiology residency at the University of Kentucky, she has the framework she needs to keep her career in medicine and her personal health in balance.

“I completely recognize that medicine is your main priority as a future physician, but it shouldn’t be your only priority,” she said. “You still have to make time for your family, your friends, and take care of your own wellness. Those are things I found out early on in striving to become a well-rounded individual and medical student.”

“I came to medical school to learn about medicine so I could help improve the health of my patients, and along this journey, I was able to improve my own health.”

about medicine so I could help improve the health of my patients, and along this journey, I was able to improve my own health.”