A mother-of-two who led De Montfort University research into the possible links between ethnicity and diet and the impact on type 2 diabetes has received her PhD.
Dr Kshama Joshi attended her Faculty of Health and Life Sciences degree ceremony at Curve theatre with her husband Rahul and her two daughters Aditi and Ruchira while her supervisor, DMU Professor of Biochemistry, Parvez Haris, looked on proudly from the stage.
Dr Joshi successfully navigated a challenging journey from retail cash point assistant to NHS administrative staff and now PhD researcher and dedicated her qualification to her family.
She said: “I have seen the value of education and my degree is for my parents who always believed in me and for my wonderful kids, my husband and for Parvez. My father passed away in January but he knew I had my doctorate.
“I am proud to be an example to my daughters that if I can do it, they can do it.
“There were lots of rocky moments but the hunger to success was so strong. I was very introverted to start off with and when I look back my education here was transformative. It was not an easy journey but everyone believed in me throughout and the kids have always been my audience.
“We have put blood and sweat into this research and I am still the only PhD to have come up with an ethnicity-specific food frequency questionnaire to identify the risk characteristics in diabetes.
“I am making a positive change. Helping people is what keeps me motivated.”
Dr Joshi also paid special tribute to her supervisor Professor Haris saying: “He was the one who made me believe I could study at this age with two kids!”
Dr Joshi’s dedication to creating ‘me time’ with her daughters included not only helping them navigate their way through school work but all three of them taking up karate. They are all now black belts in the martial art.
Older daughter Aditi, who is studying for a degree in Hull, said: “My mum is absolutely inspiring. When she went up on stage to collect her PhD I felt really emotional. I am very, very proud.
“My mum would be up at odd hours to finish her work and then make time for us.”
Younger daughter Ruchira, who is studying for her GCSEs, said: “To be honest I cannot put into words how proud I am. I tell my friends about my mum and they say ‘wow, your mum is a PhD’.
“My mum has worked so hard and all of the values that I have are down to my mum. Juggling time for me and my sister and my dad while working and studying and making time to do normal motherly things with us is quite something.”
Dr Joshi’s research was a collaboration between DMU, healthcare organisations and community centres.
It gave a vital opportunity to share information with the people of Leicester about the importance of recognising the causes of type 2 diabetes, rather than the symptoms.
In some cases, during the information gathering process, some participants showed early signs of diabetes.
Such early detection may be a step forward in prevention of the disease, which could save valuable NHS resources which would otherwise be deployed in corrective measures.
An early supporter of the research was the elected Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby who had volunteered to attend one of Dr Joshi’s clinics that were held in GP suergeries and community centres.
He wrote at the time: “I have been very pleased to be part of the very important work that DMU is doing researching the link between type 2 diabetes and diet in different communities within Leicester.
“It is another great example of DMU engaging and helping the communities and the city of which it is such an important part.
“I was particularly impressed by the professional (but very friendly) approach of Kshama Joshi, who knew how to mix good scientific research with the very best advice to me.”
Posted on Monday 18th September 2023