Medical Anthropology (GLHLTH 321)
Medical Anthropology, taught by the fantastic Dr. Katya Wesolowksi, was a thought-provoking class that examined how medical care and the idea of “health” has evolved over time, particularly in the late 20th century. Much of the class focused on how modern biomedicine (Western medicine) treats mental health, reproductive rights, and defines health. Additionally, the class emphasized how the increasingly scientific nature of medicine has changed medical practice and how patients feel. While many medicines and medical devices (diagnostic tests, 3D-imaging, cancer therapeutics, cardiac assist devices, etc.) are life-changing and improve long-term health, they often come with external negative consequences. For instance, doctors often stop relying less on patient narrative and more on diagnostic tests; however, in doing so, the patient’s experience can be neglected, and vital information might be missed.
As someone who aspires to build medicines or maybe medical devices in the future, this class was a vital reminder to think through all the myriad ways in which a novel therapeutic or test can impact a patient’s life and the quality of their care. For as many problems as new technology can solve, it opens up ethical and logistical challenges that must be addressed.
Globalization and Corporate Citizenship (ETHICS 160FS)
Globalization and Corporate Citizenship was an eye-opening class. Prof. Dirk Philipsen is an outstanding professor who challenged every word that was spoken in class. He did not look for correct answers, but instead encouraged complex, rational thought that considered problems from multiple angles. The class focused on the different ways that modern corporations have changed society, covering topics from climate change to income inequality to systemic racism. Along the way, the course integrated ethical discussions of the role of corporations and technology on society. It was a brilliant exposure to global challenges, and pushed me to think differently about the services and products I consume on a daily basis.
This class will be relevant to my work as an engineer because it gave me a deeper understanding of the ethical challenges facing new technologies and corporations. It exposed me to the externalization of costs that exists in modern corporate practices, as well as ways to avoid this damaging behavior. This class will stay with me always.
Increasing Access to Laparoscopic Surgery (GLHLTH 395)
As part of this Bass Connections project, led by Dr. Tamara Fitzgerald, I was in charge of prototyping to develop a low-cost laparoscope that meets the needs of low-middle-income-countries such as Uganda. To learn more about the research I did with this team, please click on the Research tab in the menu bar. I include the class in this section because much of the time in the class was interdisciplinary as the project included multiple sub-teams, including a regulatory, business, and clinical trials sub-team. Team meetings consisted of updates from each sub-team, along with informational lectures from each sub-team. In this way, I gained a broad exposure to medical device development, from the nitty-gritty of engineering/design, regulatory processes, finding the right investors, or designing clinical trials to test medical devices. I worked alongside other engineering specialties, economics students, and physicians, which will be an incredibly valuable experience going forward.