Why did you get into health care?

Kedar Mate, MD, Senior Vice President, IHI

In the early part of my career, I wanted my main focus was on social justice and health equity. It felt unjust that we could have the life that we were living here and that there were so many poor people in other parts of the world and in other parts of our own country that didn’t have access to the same things that I did. And that came very much from my upbringing, visiting Indiana, where my family is from, and seeing that dichotomous situation on the streets all the time.

So for me, it was very much about that. It was sort of a pro-equity kind of choice. I didn’t know that it was health care necessarily, but I was interested in this angle. I worked for an organization called Partners in Health that does a lot of [health care] work in resource-limited settings around the world. And I found that the people in the organization that I most admired and wanted to be like were the doctors. And what they could do felt different to me than what everybody else could do. And that’s why I became a physician, and that’s what led me to doing this work.