(BA, Biology, '96)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I have many memories from my time at Hofstra in the Department of Biology. Most notably, I remember my esteemed professor and mentor, Dr. Robert Seagull, who taught me so much about critical thinking and project completion. He also impressed upon me the importance of not getting dejected or giving up when results don’t go your way. My classes in Microbiology with Dr. Erb, Animal Physiology with Dr. Daniel, and Comparative Anatomy with Dr. Morrissey gave me the foundation for a career in medicine.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
After I graduated from Hofstra, I earned a combined MD/MBA in Health Management at Tufts University. Following graduation, I completed residency in emergency medicine at NYU/Bellevue Hospital, where I was selected as chief resident. I then became an attending physician and an instructor in emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medicine. The most valuable thing I learned as a resident was the need to cultivate strong mentorship and collaborations.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty is emergency medicine. I chose this field because emergency medicine cares for all patients, regardless of race, gender, class, or socioeconomic status. Emergency medicine also provides clinicians with the opportunity to see patients with all types of health conditions and diseases.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Be very open minded, make sure that you work hard, and find great teachers and mentors who you can learn from and depend on, especially when you are making difficult decisions or are going through trying times.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Memorable. To this day, I still remember things that I learned in my classes, and I must say that I am extremely thankful to all my professors and mentors at Hofstra.
- What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
The most rewarding experience has been being a leader throughout many disaster situations in New York City. I was a resident during 9/11 and served in leadership roles during the blackout in NYC, Hurricane Sandy, Ebola, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a leader during these very challenging times has been both the most difficult and rewarding experience of my career, but I am thankful to have been on the front line providing care to those who need it most and leading a team through times of crisis.
- What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome to perform your job?
The biggest obstacle that I have overcome was the COVID-19 pandemic. Leading the Emergency Department through a pandemic in one of the busiest healthcare systems in the epicenter of the United States was an incredibly challenging situation, and that required me to rely on all of the skills that I learned throughout my education and in my career. It required tremendous leadership skills and the need to develop effective collaborations.
- How has your degree from Hofstra University helped you in your career?
Being in a relatively small class setting with dedicated teachers at Hofstra helped me identify some great mentors. The focus on critical thinking, teamwork, mentorship, and individual attention to students makes Hofstra stand out.
Dr. Rahul Sharma is professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and serves as emergency physician-in-chief for New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He currently also serves as president of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Medical Board. As the inaugural chairman for the Department of Emergency Medicine, he leads all academic and operational activities for the NYP-Weill Cornell Medical Center and NYP-Lower Manhattan Hospital Emergency Departments. Dr. Sharma is also a professor of clinical population health sciences and serves as the academic chairman for the NYP-Weill Cornell Medicine-affiliated emergency departments at New York Presbyterian-Queens and New York Presbyterian-Brooklyn Methodist. In total, these NYP-Weill Cornell Medicine-affiliated emergency departments treat over 375,000 patients annually, serving a diverse population in New York City. Dr. Sharma holds several other executive leadership roles, including chief and medical director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the NYP enterprise, and he is a member of the New York State Board for Medicine.
After earning a BA in Biology from Hofstra University, Dr. Sharma received a combined MD/MBA in Health Management from Tufts University School of Medicine. He then completed his specialty training in emergency medicine at NYU Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital, where he was selected as chief resident. During his residency, he received several awards, including the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Leadership Award and the Emergency Medicine Residents' Association (EMRA) National Leadership Award. Dr. Sharma previously served as executive vice-chief of emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. Prior to that, he served as medical director and associate chief of service for the Emergency Department at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Dr. Sharma is a national leader in the fields of emergency medicine, healthcare operations, telemedicine, and virtual healthcare. His accomplishments in innovation have been featured in several national media platforms and academic journals, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NEJM Catalyst, and JAMA. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Emergency Care Innovation of the Year Award, and in 2019, he was named a Top 25 Innovator in the healthcare industry by Modern Healthcare as well as one of EMRA’s 45 under 45 Influencers in Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Sharma has founded and spearheaded numerous educational programs, including the first endowed Healthcare Leadership and Management (HLM) Scholars Program for medical students at Weill Cornell Medicine, the first Physician Assistant Residency Program at NYP-Weill Cornell Medicine, a Healthcare Leadership and Management Fellowship with an Executive MBA/MS for junior faculty, and the NYP-Weill Cornell Medicine Telemedicine and Digital Healthcare elective for medical students and residents. He also serves as a strategic advisor for the Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership program offered by Weill Cornell Medicine and the Johnson School of Management.
Dr. Sharma serves on the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) National Emergency Medicine Practice Committee and National Quality and Patient Safety Committee. In addition, he is an oral boards examiner for the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) and is a Certified Physician Executive (CPE). He is also a graduate of the inaugural class of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School/Deloitte Consulting Physician Leadership Academy.