From Cancer Surgeon to Cancer Patient: Deepa Halaharvi to Speak About Compassion and Perseverance at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences Commencement

Share Article

Just as Deepa Halaharvi, DO was beginning her practice as a breast cancer surgeon she received a diagnosis of breast cancer herself. Halaharvi returns to her the university where she earned her medical degree to share the experience that she says made her a better doctor and person.

News Image
“Don’t forget to serve. Don’t ever take away hope. And I want to remind them how important it is for physicians to take care of themselves.”

When Deepa Halaharvi, DO became a breast cancer surgeon in 2014 she said a prayer asking God how she could best serve her patients.

Her prayer was answered, she says with a breast cancer diagnosis of her own.

“Being a patient and a physician will teach you a lot,” Halaharvi said.

Halaharvi has made national news sharing her story with patients; on May 5th, 2018 Halaharvi will share some of what she has learned with the graduating classes of doctors and students earning a master’s in biosciences at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU).

She returns to Kansas City to give the keynote address 10 years after she graduated from KCU with a degree in osteopathic medicine.

“I hope to leave them with a little bit of what I have learned since my own graduation day,” she explained. “Don’t forget to serve. Don’t ever take away hope. And I want to remind them how important it is for physicians to take care of themselves.”

Halaharvi’s speech will take students through her childhood; one of four children and the only daughter of immigrant parents who arrived from India in the 1980’s. She plans to share her story of hard work and sacrifice that finally resulted in a fellowship in breast cancer surgery at Ohio Health. Her speech outlines the thrill of fulfilling her dream of practicing medicine, the fear and suffering that followed her diagnosis and how her experience helps her relate to patients.

As part of the ceremony she will be awarded another degree; a doctorate of humane letters.

“I cannot think of a better person to provide the keynote speech at KCU’s commencement,” said Marc B. Hahn, DO. “She represents the values of the university from which she graduated, and has a unique insight on compassion that our graduating physicians and scientists will want to hear.”

A total of 250 KCU students from the college of medicine will graduate with degrees in osteopathic medicine. An additional 96 will be awarded master’s degrees from the college of biosciences.

Halaharvi wants all of them to remember they will be treating real people, not just symptoms of a disease.

KCU’s commencement ceremonies can be viewed live via the KCU YouTube and Facebook page Saturday, May 5, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

About Kansas City University

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, founded in 1916, is a fully accredited, private health sciences university, with a College of Biosciences and a College of Osteopathic Medicine. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is the oldest medical school in Kansas City, Missouri, and the largest in the state. It is the second-leading provider of physicians within the states of Missouri and Kansas.

KCU opened a second medical school in Joplin, Missouri, in 2017 to help address the growing need for primary care physicians in the region’s rural communities.

The university also added a doctoral program in clinical psychology in 2017 to meet the growing demand for behavioral health providers in the region.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print