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: Taylor Eisenstein
Upon visiting a hospital—a word derived from the term ‘hospitality’—patients are greeted by physicians and hospital staff. Hospital lobbies are often large, open, and welcoming; certain hospitals, like Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, embellish their lobbies with ornate decorations or historical remnants. Behind the scenes, medical students undergo rigorous training so that they can learn to treat and address patients in a proper manner. Individuals today, however, often neglect to consider the origins of hospitals and medicine.
This past summer, I had the opportunity explore medicine, hospitality, and compassion as I traveled to over 50 sites and more than 47 towns and cities in Italy with the Italian Studies Summer Program, an interdisciplinary venture that focused on bioethics, humanities, medicine, and compassion. This study abroad experience involved faculty from the Emory Center for Ethics and School of Medicine in collaboration with the Italian Studies program. Different hospitals and universities observed on this study abroad provided insight into the history of health and medicine and illuminated the integration of medicine with art. Snapshots of just a few of the places that I visited in Italy are described below.
Ospedale degli Innocenti
Located in Florence, Italy, the ‘Hospital of the Innocents’ initially served as an orphanage for young children. Parents unable to care for their babies could anonymously leave them in a rotating wheel that would then carry them into building. Sometimes parents would leave half a locket or trinket with the child and keep the other half, as a way to maintain a connection with their loved ones. The image of a baby comfortably swaddled in fabric became a prominent sign for the Innocenti, which inspired the symbol of the American Academy of Pediatrics today. Filippo Brunelleschi designed this building in the 1400s; by constructing certain open spaces that actively filtered in light, he helped facilitate an environment conducive to healing for orphaned children.
Ospedale Santa Maria Nuova
Founded in 1288, the ‘Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova’ is the oldest hospital currently operating in Florence and offers services such as dermatology, radiology, neurology, psychiatry, and more. This hospital also hosts an elaborate piece of architecture called The Cloister of Bones, a temple built in the nineteenth century that acted as a burial site.
Santa Maria della Scala
Located in Siena, this hospital—now a museum—once cared for children and the sick. Abandoned babies were provided with wet nurses, and girls were even given dowries. Because it was positioned among common traveling routes, this hospital also provided welcome lodgings for pilgrims, as indicated by the presence of a Pilgrim’s Hall. Frescoes in the hospital provide insight into early medical treatment and the fusion of care and compassion. For instance, Caring for the Sick by Domenico di Bartolo seemingly depicts an extremely ill man being comforted and supported through his illness; it also portrays another man whose injuries are being examined.
Teatro Anatomico: The Anatomical Theatre
Universities once employed the use of anatomical theatres in order to perform dissections and teach anatomy to curious observers, including medical students and physicians. The first anatomical theatre was built at the University of Padua—the fifth-oldest currently operating university in the world—in the late 1500s. A small operating table is positioned in the middle of the theatre, on a bottom level; seating capable of serving more than one hundred individuals is elevated and looks down on the table. Demonstrations would sometimes be accompanied by live music. Additionally, the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest surviving university, holds a smaller anatomical theatre that depicts images of prominent historical figures, such as Hippocrates and Galen.