This post is the first in a new series highlighting the successes of alumni of Emory's Center for the Study of Human Health. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of fields and partake in a variety of further training. This semi-regular series will demonstrate these outstanding alumni outcomes.
By: Salima S. Makhani
This fall, I was the first in my family to start my journey as a medical student. I have recently begun Mercer University School of Medicine’s Problem-Based Curriculum (PBL), which has exposed me to a different style of learning, such as stimulating intimate discussions among classmates, encouraging interactions in small groups, and sharing our thoughts on each patient’s case. Cases we review range from discussing nutritional and lifestyle aspects of a diabetic patient to analyzing lab findings consistent with a myocardial infarction. This case-based approach reminds me of my undergraduate years at Emory University in the Center for the Study of Human Health.
I initially started college focusing my studies on Biology, similar to many of my pre-med peers. Although I was following the path I carved out for myself, I was still searching for a more holistic understanding of medicine and health. After my first class with Dr. Lampl in Predictive Health and Societies, I knew that The Center for the Study of Human Health would prepare me best in my aspiration of being a physician.
As a rising Junior at Emory in 2013, I was determined to be a part of the first cohort of students to graduate with the Human Health major. I took part in all the Center had to offer including, for example, going to the study abroad program with Human Health professors in Paris, France in the summer of 2014. The combination of my foundational science and preventative medicine courses served an integral role in applying my knowledge from the classroom to volunteer services with Emory Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
Equipped with this unique perspective on health and medicine, I pursued a Masters of Science in Preclinical Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine in 2015. I then trained as a medical scribe at various Emergency departments in Georgia and Illinois. In addition to scribing, I decided to revisit Emory, coordinating clinical research with Emory’s Department of Urology. Emory surgeons served as my mentors, training me to not only learn the foundations of clinical research, but also to analyze data, draft a manuscript and become published as a first author of a major study in the Journal of American College of Surgeons.
I am so grateful for the undergraduate and post-graduate experiences that have prepared me for where I am today. The Center for the Study of Human Health lies at the roots of my journey. I will continue to integrate this knowledge into my education as I aspire to be a physician serving one of the many under-served communities in Georgia.
By: Alexa Hirschberg
Last year, I took my studies across the pond to pursue the Health and Society program at King’s College of London. This module integrated seminars and clinical shadowing, allowing for students, like myself, to take our education beyond the textbook and further put studies to practice. As I developed an awareness of the patient experience and that of the healthcare practitioner from a scientific, scholastic and professional perspective, I also cultivated a holistic understanding of healthcare in the United Kingdom.
Although focused on healthcare, this course was interdisciplinary by nature, as lectures were led by academics from various backgrounds and specialties. Topics ranged from ethical reasoning and confidentiality to communication skills and role-playing scenarios. History and law were discussed as we took a journey through the National Health Service from its origins to how it currently functions on the ground in daily life. We visited the National Gallery, and learned about visual thinking as an important part of patient-provider communication. We honed our observational skills by interpreting art to understand narratives and engage with the social contexts of each piece. This exercise was then carried out into our clinical practices.
Clinical placement was also varied; I shadowed professionals in a general practice, a sexual health center, and an osteopathic manipulative treatment office. As a practitioner of alternative medicine in my own life, I found it particularly interesting to see how osteopathy is integrated into the British healthcare system such that existing social and political structures encourage patients to support these forms of treatment. Patients also felt at liberty to see their physicians more frequently, as they did not have the financial burdens with which United States citizens are charged. The Health and Society program inspired me to look more closely into the ways in which social structures influence individuals’ and societies’ experiences of health, illness and wellness.
Upon returning to Emory, I felt driven to extend my experience and keep working in the field of healthcare while finishing my studies in Human Health and Health Innovation, a program based on a collaboration between CSHH and Goizueta Business School aiming to train students to pursue careers in business and health. To satisfy this craving, I began working for locateyourcare, a digital health startup based in Atlanta. Through this experience, I was exposed to a different demographic than that of my study abroad experience, which challenged me to further expand my knowledge and skill set.
I started attending regional conferences and local events in the field of health technology and was introduced to the growing healthcare startup ecosystem in Atlanta. By May, my part-time job turned into a full-time opportunity for the summer. I spent the past several months down south engaging with the startup community and expanding my professional network. As I prepare to graduate, I look forward to new experiences that meet at the intersection of my academic and professional passions.
On March 26th, Dr. Yoon Hang John Kim, the founder and director of Georgia Integrative Medicine, shared his perspective with Emory undergraduates in "Introduction to Predictive Health and Society", a popular undergraduate course at Emory University that introduces students the science of health and healthcare research.
In the West, people are mostly treated with either medicine or surgery. As Dr. Kim, explains, his practice considers a variety of therapies drawn from both Western and Eastern cultures that give patients a much wider range of options to truly offer services that integrate these techniques, rather that just sampling from them.
A key aspect of Dr. Kim's message to the class was that some aspects of health cannot be explained by the Western, or biomedical, model of health and healthcare. He discusses three concepts of Eastern medicine—the Tao, Complexity, and Synergy—as alternative ways of thinking about health. Further, these alternative models can help us to improve patient care, as there is very rarely a single cause of disease. As Dr. Kim describes in the clip below, "genetics, behaviors, depression, and social support can all contribute to heart attack and you can't say one thing caused everything."
Hearty congratulations to all of the graduating minors in Global Health, Culture, and Society in the class of 2013! We wish you great fortune in your lives as true world citizens.
The Center is very proud of our graduating seniors who participated as Peer Health Partners, or PHPs, during their undergraduate years at Emory:
These students embody the vision of the Center and dedicated countless hours of their time to help spread knowledge regarding the science of human health to freshman enrolled in Health 100 courses. Check out our Student Spotlights page for descriptions of some of our stars.
The Center for the Study of Human Health is proud to announce that the following seniors graduated today with a minor in Predictive Health:
These students have a number of exciting career opportunities available to them. Their destinations in the coming months include medical school, public health school, internships with city- and county-level organizations, and nutrition-related programming for hospitals and non-profit organizations, among other opportunities. Watch for forthcoming posts highlighting these individual student achievements on our Student Spotlights page.
Photo courtesy of Instagram #Emory2013
The final course requirement for Predictive Health Minors is called “Health 410: Predictive Health Challenge.” This year’s inaugural senior class took on as their final challenge the creation of an app to improve health. The class has been working in small groups of 2-4 students to produce an app targeting a specific health challenge that they have identified. On Friday, May 3rd at 8:30 am in White Hall Room 207, students will describe the health challenge that they are targeting and then publicly demonstrate how their app works. We encourage Emory students and community members to attend these presentations.
Keep calm and breathe on! Join us tonight at the Woodruff Library for meditation, yoga, and art therapy
Finals week can be stressful, and oftentimes we forget to take time to decompress and refocus. To help us overcome this, Taylor Werkema has organized an opportunity for students to participate in yoga, meditation, and art therapy tonight from 6 - 8pm in the Jones Room at the Woodruff Library.
To learn more about the event, watch the following video and see a full description on our Events page.
Welcome back Emory students! The Spring semester officially starts today, Wednesday, January 18th. For a roundup of news and a preview of events around campus this Spring, see this article in the Emory Report.
The Center is offering a variety of courses this semester, ranging in topic from nutrition to botanical medicine to integrative health. We additionally look forward to engaging with students across Emory who are participating in the Predictive Health Minor as well as the Peer Health Partner program.
For more information about opportunities related to Human Health, visit theCenter for the Study of Human Health website and check back here, at our blog, for up-to-date research highlights, news, and Center information.
This spring the Center for the Study of Human Health will be offering some exciting new courses to Emory Undergrads:
Visit the Emory Course Atlas for the full list of the Spring 2012 Human Health course offerings.