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Katie Gravagna - General Member

Katie is a sophomore in the College of Biological Sciences majoring in microbiology and minoring in Spanish through the honors program. She is a research assistant for Dr. Nicole Basta, working as part of a team to eliminate the barriers to HPV vaccination in Ugandan adolescent girls and to address the ethics and inequalities in international vaccine research. She is also involved in extracurriculars such as the university’s Red Cross Club, where she is president, Interprofessional Pre-Health Students, and Partners in Health.

 

What is a problem or issue in health care that you're interested in or would like to address as a physician?

“The healthcare system in the United States can be extremely difficult for multicultural patients to navigate. There are many obvious logistical issues, such as a lack of translators, but the problem is more complex than that. Many doctors are unprepared to work with patients from a variety of backgrounds. Not only are there difficulties with communicating through the intricacies of another language’s medical vocabulary, but doctors also struggle with handling the cultural phenomenons of illness (such as a reliance on traditional medicine) in an understanding manner. This can be traced back to the aspiring medical student’s curriculum, even from the undergraduate level: studying another language or taking classes that involve expanding one’s cultural comprehension are viewed solely as electives. As a physician, I would encourage aspiring medical students to pursue medically-relevant language courses and cultural studies.”