Family and the Christie Foundation Support Sister and Brother

Shwayta and Saurabh Kukreti
1st Year Resident and
Senior, Community Health and Health Planning and Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

By the time Shwayta Kukreti fully fulfills her dream of becoming a radiologist, she will have spent 13 years in college and medical school combined. Today she’s just over halfway through, serving a first year resident in internal medicine at the University of Illinois.

In between days filled with patient visits, lectures, conferences and seminars, presentations, and a heavy dose of volunteering, Shwayta spends free time on a passion she’s had since she was six living in India: bharat natyam, classical South Indian dance that focuses on expressions, intricate footsteps and hand movements, and mythological stories.

Swayta’s younger brother, Saurabh, appreciates his sister’s lust for education, but says he’s eager to get through his four-year program in Community Health and Health Planning and Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This summer, he’ll formally embark on his career journey to a position in California that will involve him in behind-the-scenes hospital operations where he hopes to improve care delivery, cut costs, and improve patient experiences.

The pair are rooted in family. Living with them in Champaign is their 99-year-old grandfather and both their parents, all of whom attend all of Shwayta’s and Saurabh’s events and functions – with cameras in tow of course.

“They are our pillars of support,” says Shwayta. Saurabh finishes, “They are our biggest cheerleaders, supporting us every step of the way. They keep everything going for us so we can pursue our affinities.”

While Saurabh is eager to move into his profession, he’s got plenty of well-rounded experience from a mind-boggling array of internships he’s had from around the world. From educating Indian villagers on preventative medicine to designing molecular probes in Boston with Novartis to conducting pancreatic and breast cancer imaging in Chicago and California, Saurabh explored all his options before settling on hospital administration after an internship with Carle Hospital’s Vice President of Operations, Lynne Barnes.

“Lynne was a great mentor and her guidance inspired me to pursue hospital administration,” says Saurabh. “I realize that you don’t have to be a physician to help people in a hospital setting – it takes a whole team and I want to be a part of the behind-the-scenes operation.”

For fun, Saurabh also dances, sings a cappella with the award-winning Chai Town at the University of Illinois, and does fashion photography.

For Shwayta, her passion is breast cancer imaging, combining the technical aspects with her love of physics, math, and research. Her ultimate goal is to become a radiologist who specializes in finding new methods to diagnose, treat, and cure breast cancer.

Between the two, they have received 17 years worth of scholarship support from the Christie Foundation to pursue their medical studies.

“The Christie Foundation has made a huge difference to us,” the two say in near unison. Shwayta finishes, “The Foundation has been so kind – so very, very kind. We are grateful for their generosity.”