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Tufts Public Health

Rahul Kulkarni

Tufts empowered Rahul Kulkarni (MPH ‘10) to bridge the gap between cultural sensitivity and mental wellness, and led him to launch an innovative wellness company.

What made you apply to Tufts and pursue a career in public health?

Tufts has such a huge focus on global citizenship and principled leadership. I come from a background where I went to India every summer and saw healthcare disparities that impacted my family. From that, I knew I wanted to work in healthcare at a macro-level. At Tufts, I knew I would be able to pursue my interests in health policy on a global scale.

I was really motivated to get my MPH after learning from my undergraduate Public Health and Community Medicine professor and her work against big tobacco. I saw the effect that activism could have on public health and it made me even more eager to engage.

What was the MPH program like?

As an MPH student I was exposed to people who were learning about and working in many different areas of public health, and as a health policy major, I gained insights into policy law and management. The program also provided enough flexibility for students to balance working and going to class. I was able to finish my degree while working in clinics outside of the program and I still had time to pursue music with my rock band. When I graduated I felt like I had this really interesting set of professional experiences that put me in a position to pursue other dreams.

Can you share more about your clinical work and your Applied Learning Experience (ALE)?

Because of my undergraduate background, I was able to do clinical work as a group therapist at North Suffolk Mental Health. I ran a methadone support group for people with mental health and substance abuse disorders. For my ALE, I worked on a Naloxone Narcan van. We worked (on an initiative) to provide access to Naloxone for opioid overdoses to first responders, but also users themselves and their family members. The van was a safe space for anyone in the community who needed the support.

What are you doing today?

Graduating in 2010 was an economic whirlwind because of the financial crisis. I decided to travel with my band then joined the United Nations as a Princeton fellow in Ecuador, focusing on mound nutrition and Colombian refugees. I returned to school for an MBA and began experiencing burnout. Over the years I experimented with different therapy treatments to improve my health and my journey led me to more holistic options.

In 2019 I co-founded Sukhi, a mental health platform focused on the corporate world. We provide virtual packages that include live meditations, desk yoga, and different workshops to mitigate stress. Sukhi was created to build a bridge between cultural sensitivity and mental wellness as well as cohesively utilize data and analytics to customize therapy.

What do you want students who are considering a Tufts MPH to know?

The beautiful thing about public health is that it gives you so much flexibility. My time at Tufts provided a solid background not only in policy, but in areas like economics and business. It has helped me get to where I am today.

Rahul Kulkarni, MPH'10
Rahul Kulkarni
MPH, Health Services Management and Policy