Dr. Hiral Tipirneni can’t bear the thought of coffee. The emergency medicine physician maxed out her tolerance for the world’s most popular pick-me-up in medical school at Northeast Ohio Medical University and during residency at the University of Michigan. “Those were very erratic years,” she tells Bustle. “Most of the time we would eat on the run.” After losing both her mother and nephew to cancer, she switched gears in 2005, swapping ER scrubs for lab coats. Now, she starts her days with acup of chai before heading into work as a cancer researcher.
Next week, Tipirneni is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona’s 6th Congressional district, where she’s hoping to unseat the Republican incumbent, Rep. David Schweikert. It’s a tight race, and her first foray with politics.An Oct. 29 poll from Public Policy Polling has her up by four points, which is well within the margin of error. Her experience as a doctor, caffeinated or not, is the guiding force behind her campaign. “Goal number one is to absolutely get to that place of quality, affordable healthcare for every American,” says Tipirneni, whose family immigrated to the United States from India when she was 3 years old. “I don't think it's ever been more clear how much we need that.”