"When I was 8 years old, I did a book report on Elizabeth Blackwell, the first recognized woman physician, and from that point on I was determined to become a physician."
I’ve never changed my mind about that. That’s my goal.
But while I was in college, I realized there’s a whole side of medicine that physicians don’t have much opportunity to broach, and it can be intimidating: health insurance, health policy, health systems. Those are all pieces of the healthcare puzzle, though, and as someone who still aspires to be a practicing physician, I firmly believe that public health policy must be part of my training. I’m passionate about rural health in particular, which led me to work for the Rural Health Research Center at the School of Public Health.
By getting my MPH prior to medical school, I hope to use what I’ve learned to guide my entire process of thought: I can understand how health insurance varies based on payment models, and how health policy influences what Medicaid and Medicare will cover, for instance. Medicine is so much more than just science. It’s real people: their lives, their communities, and their families. It’s important to recognize that there are large disparities, and they’re growing…and there’s something we can DO about it.