Rana Rand discovered the benefits of interdisciplinary medicine firsthand when a physical injury she suffered didn’t respond to traditional medical treatments. The experience influenced her professional career path, leading her to pursue a degree in osteopathic medicine.
Rand, who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in biochemistry in 2002, is now a physiatrist at the Sonora Regional Medical Center in Sonora, Calif., where she sees patients at the center’s outpatient clinic, inpatient rehabilitation unit and hospital.
Combining traditional medicine with exercise, physical therapy, medications and integrative practices, among other techniques, osteopathic medicine takes an interdisciplinary approach to restore and maintain a patient’s optimum health.
“I aim to help restore function to nerves, muscles and joints after injury and in chronic pain conditions,” Rand said, noting her appreciation of hands-on and holistic approaches to medicine. “It takes extra time, but I learn so much from physically examining my patients that I can’t imagine practicing medicine in any other way.”
Beginnings at UC Davis
Rand arrived at UC Davis as a transfer student. She applied to the university following encouragement from a community college professor who touted the personal attention Rand would receive.
“My experiences at UC Davis prepared me to succeed in my later endeavors,” Rand said. “I found the idyllic setting in a quiet bicycle town helped me focus more on my education and well-being than I could have in a bustling big city setting with a long, stressful commute.”
She hit the ground running at UC Davis, networking with professors and teaching assistants to identify opportunities across campus. Her enthusiasm helped her land a position at a plant genetics lab, which fueled her fascination with plant biology. She remains interested in plants as dietary interventions to prevent and treat common chronic diseases.
“My greatest goal as an osteopathic physiatrist is to help patients harness their self-healing capacity,” Rand said.
Well-prepared for success
While at UC Davis, Rand received accolades for scholastic achievement, including the Luther and Marie Davis Scholarship, the Henry A. Jastro Scholarship and a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Academic Citation. She was also a College of Biological Sciences Medal finalist.
Rand later received a doctorate in osteopathic medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed an internship at the Lankenau Medical Center in Pennsylvania and a residency at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey.
Despite continuing her education on the east coast, Rand’s ties to UC Davis remained strong. “When I wrote to some of my professors to request letters of recommendation two years after I graduated, all of them responded right away despite full teaching and research schedules,” she said.
Rand recommended that current undergraduate students take a proactive approach to learning and networking.
“I learned how to learn during my time at UC Davis, thanks to amazing professors who helped me develop a framework for studying and learning,” she said. “If you cultivate your curiosity and continually reinforce your understanding of the basics as you learn new concepts, you will be far ahead of most of your colleagues in any field.”