emmalivne-Health Professions Program - Carnegie Mellon University

Emma Livne '15

Each time I reflect on my time at Carnegie Mellon, I increasingly recognize the ways in which my studies and the experiences I pursued developed my connection to public health and medicine. My Global Studies degree, and concentrations in health and social change, met at the intersection of comprehensive, sustainable medicine. Eager to become involved in local areas of health, I began volunteering in children’s hospitals through Project Sunshine, providing respite from the monotony of hospital life through recreational activities. Working with young cancer patients, as well as those receiving long-term assistance for mental disabilities, I became passionate about the necessity of holistic care to effectively heal. Further into college, I volunteered at Prevention Point Pittsburgh, a Needle Exchange program in Pittsburgh founded on the harm reduction approach to drug policy. I worked to help PPP fight a restrictive county ordinance through consolidating public health and demographic data, providing substance and medium to the data through maps that would point to both regionally-specific and overall need for a Needle Exchange. The experience taught me the importance of meeting people at their level of need, and promoting dignity in patients, particularly those from marginalized communities. These lessons continued in my senior year, as I studied abroad in North India, conducting independent research on the persistence of young child malnutrition. Through my fieldwork I gained first-hand experience into the effects of poor doctor-patient interface, a lack of education, societal hierarchies, and an inadequate infrastructure. My engagement with underserved populations locally and globally affirmed my plan to become a doctor. The lessons I learned academically and experientially grounded my medical path in the belief that holistic, culturally competent care most effectively address health determinants. It is with this understanding that I continue to integrate public health and medicine into my future career. I am currently serving as the Community Mobilization Coordinator at a child and family health and wellness non-profit at Boston Medical Center through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. In the fall, I will be attending medical school, intending to become a primary care physician.