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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

One Path To Women's Health Scholar

In my first year, the Women’s Health lecture series piqued my interest as a chance to learn about the real-world issues in women’s health. As I continued attending the lectures, I realized I was getting more—I was learning a viewpoint on how to take a critical approach to my education and my career. I decided the Women’s Health Scholar’s program would be a valuable experience in helping me become a better clinician and a better researcher.

Volunteering at the HOP clinics had been my main form of community outreach, and I hoped to connect this experience with my Women’s Health interests. During my second year, two of my classmates developed the “Jump Into Reading” program at the Eliza Shirley clinic to encourage mothers to read with their children. For my community project, I helped secure book donations, facilitate reading space, and of course, I regularly attended the reading program to read with moms and kids.

During one of my lighter third year rotations, I emailed Drs. Núñez, and Kahng about a bulletin board idea. Since it was Lupus Awareness month, I wanted to put together images and clinical pearls to help students internalize the diverse pathology associated with Lupus. Since I was on an away rotation, I got feedback from the Women’s Health team via email, asked Winnie to print the slides for me, and I came back to Philly on a Saturday to hang the images on the Women’s Health bulletin board.

With most of the requirements complete, the 15-20 paper was still looming. Having recently abandoned my previous career choice of OB/Gyn in favor Pediatrics, I felt like I was a half-step behind my classmates who had always known they wanted to work with children. I considered abandoning the Women’s Health Scholar’s path, but upon reflection, I realized that completing a paper on a topic relevant to Pediatrics would allow me to develop an area of interest and feel more grounded.

As a third-year student, I had spent a day in the GROW clinic, where I was fascinated by the multidisciplinary approach to patient care, including extensive social and psychological support for parents. I contacted Dr. Kersten, the director, and he invited me to spend as much time as I wanted in clinic, introduced me to his team, and asked me to participate in data gathering for a research project on failure to thrive. Now that I am writing my paper, I am grateful that I pushed myself to reach out and pursue an interest I might have otherwise left alone.

The most valuable part of the Women’s Health Scholars experience for me has been that I have pushed myself to pursue interests, develop my own ideas, and expand my exposure to different issues in women’s health. I am certain that I will have a better-informed academic and clinical perspective upon leaving Drexel.

Blog submission Stephanie Doupnik, Class of 2011; Women's Health Pathway student

Photo credits Dunes, Namib Desert. S.Doupnik


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