Her relatives, and even some of her colleagues, were perplexed.
“Why are you doing emergency and disaster management, of all things?” they asked her.
Mundayat Jyoti, M.D., had graduated from medical school in India and practiced obstetrics and gynecology in both India and the United Kingdom. After moving to the United States, she earned a Master’s of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Then, in 2019, while working as a Clinical Research Data Manager at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, she decided to continue her education by enrolling in Georgetown’s Executive Masters in Emergency & Disaster Management program.
In January 2020, the United States reported its first COVID case, and on Feb. 3 the nation declared a public health emergency. By the next month, the World Health Organization was calling COVID-19 a pandemic. Suddenly, the idea of a doctor and researcher embarking on a rigorous one-year program to learn about emergency management didn’t seem all that strange.
“I knew from Day 1 what I was doing,” Mundayat said. “Being a physician, I never trained in emergency and disaster, and I have worked in earthquake areas and flood areas. But I’ve never had that kind of program.”
Disasters tend to have the biggest impact on the most vulnerable, people like many of Mundayat’s cancer patients at Lombardi. For example, a March 2021 study of cancer patients by the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium linked several demographic and health factors to severe coronavirus cases.
Georgetown’s program enabled Mundayat to study emergency response all over the world, with visits to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and France.
“I gained so much information talking to people from the European Union, people from UNESCO, at the U.S. Consulate in Paris,” and at NATO, she said. “It was a rare opportunity.”