Current PositionMD Candidate, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
After graduating from Duke University, I worked as a clinical research coordinator (CRC) at Massachusetts General Hospital for two years, and I am currently going into my second year of medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine. I worked on the “Stemming the Opioid Epidemic Through Education and Outreach” Bass Connections team and continue to pursue clinical research in the harm reduction space today as part of a medical device start-up at Penn.
Bass Connections was pivotal in my decision to pursue medicine as I recognized my potential to broadly influence patient outcomes within a dynamic system. Though all individually motivated to make a difference in the opiate epidemic, this was the first time anyone on my team had a platform to execute a public health project of any scale. We embraced our team’s role as “the integrator” as we learned about the creativity and community engagement required to have a systemic impact on healthcare. Whether connecting with people living in in-patient recovery, active heroin users promoting harm reduction techniques, or law enforcement officers applying innovative mental health practices to their work, we took on the responsibility of amplifying their often stigmatized voices from our position of respect. As a doctor, I will continue to take on opportunities to be an advocate for my patients, continuing to find transformative ways to create meaningful change.
Additionally, I cannot understate how influential Bass Connections has been in every aspect of my career thus far. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to experience so many firsts, laying the foundation for so much of what I do in clinical research and the harm reduction space today. As an undergraduate researcher with my Bass team, I had a hand in my first submission to an Institutional Review Board (IRB), my first grant application, my first poster presentations, and my first publication, all while learning essential team-based soft skills I have used every day since. Taking these real-world experiences with me beyond undergrad enabled me to pursue opportunities to take ownership in every step of my own research projects as a CRC, which I never could have done otherwise. Since starting medical school at Penn, I have been working with a start-up to develop a harm reduction device to sense and reverse opioid overdose using naloxone.
From submitting IRB proposals for our clinical trials to securing a major grant and publishing in Harm Reduction Journal, I have very directly relied on my skills and experiences from Bass Connections at every step. Furthermore, my Bass team’s community partners in the harm reduction space have been invaluable resources for my start-up team as we advance towards plans for distribution. Bass Connections was truly a hidden gem for me at Duke, enabling me to develop skills and relationships that will impact me for the rest of my career.