Rachit Kumar, MD named clinical assistant professor at Dartmouth College School of Medicine
Twenty years after he declined his acceptance to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College to pursue a career in medicine instead, Rachit Kumar, MD, is again affiliated with Dartmouth – as a member of its teaching faculty.
Kumar, a board-certified internist, medical oncologist and hematologist at MaineGeneral's Harold Center for Cancer Care (HACCC) in Augusta since 2017, recently was appointed as a clinical assistant professor in community and family medicine at the Dartmouth College School of Medicine.
The two-year appointment is tied to MaineGeneral's longstanding relationship with the college through the Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency (MDFMR) Program.
"It's also based on the fact that I teach residents and provide lectures for them at their request on topics related to cancer care or blood disorders," Kumar said. "We also teach medical students through our inpatient rounding. The third piece is that I'm the clinical research program director at the cancer center, where I conduct clinical trials as part of patient care."
Based on these criteria, Kumar applied to Dartmouth for an academic appointment, which was approved following a review of his application materials.
The new role is particularly meaningful for Kumar, who discovered a passion for teaching others while serving as chief resident at Georgetown University/MedStar Washington Hospital Center during his internal medicine residency.
"I love to teach and have since I was in residency, which was why I wanted to be chief resident. In that role, my duties included teaching other residents and medical students. This is just an extension of what I've always wanted to do, in a different setting. It allows me to enhance the knowledge of other clinicians, which is most important for me," he said.
"For the cancer center's oncology program, it's also important because an academic appointment proves that what we are doing makes a difference for our community and patients," he added. "It shows we're well connected and up to date about our field, and are actively sharing that knowledge with the next generation of doctors."
The oncology-specific education that family medicine or internal medicine physicians receive during their clinical rotations better prepares them for the patients with cancer they will treat in the future, Kumar said.
"It's very important for them to have a good understanding of oncology so they know what needs to be done or when to consult with an oncologist when an oncology patient comes along," he said.
Finally, for Kumar, the appointment brings a unique conclusion to the process he started two decades ago as a teenager considering his future career and life path.
"It was always sort of an unfulfilled dream to go to Dartmouth, so now I'm affiliated with them in a different capacity. It feels very nice that it has come full circle."