Natercia Rodrigues, MD
Hometown: N. Syracuse, NY
Undergraduate school: Wake Forest University
Degree: Chemistry (pre-med)
Career plans: Pediatric Oncologist
What would you like prospective students to know? As a premed student, there is so much emphasis on hard science and memorizing facts, and sometimes we forget to take a step back and think about the bigger picture, and think about why it is we are studying all of this information. The Master's in Medical Humanities Program has allowed me to do just that. I have learned how to read about, witness, and process relevant issues in our medical system, whether they be ethical, social, or cultural issues. Taking a year to immerse myself in the humanities has allowed me to learn how to think differently and learn from others' perspectives. Furthermore, studying humanities has allowed me to practice working with literature and texts that are not scientifically based, which has helped improve my non-science MCAT scores in the critical reading and psychology/sociology sections by 30%.
Where is Jennifer now? Jennifer is in medical school.
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Undergraduate School: Augustana College, IL
Degree: Major: Philosophy; Minors: Ethics, Political Science, and Women and Gender Studies
Career plans: To work as a health care lawyer and bioethicist for a government agency or work for a medical school and hospital.
Fun fact about me: I love traveling and learning about different cultures.
Why did you choose the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry? I chose to attend the University of Rochester School of Medicine because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of medicine and all of the actors that play a role within the medical system (i.e. doctors, nurses, medical staff, medical students, insurance companies, patients and the patient’s family). I also chose Rochester because I knew that I would be supported in every way by the faculty within the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Division and that I would be challenged to think.
Title: “Lost in Translation: A Physician’s Experience”
Brief Overview: Developed as a qualitative study designed using narrative research, the study used semi-structured open-ended interview questions to explore hospitalists’ experiences with New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act (2010) at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The purpose was to understand how the experiences of physicians in particular could be used to influence health policy in general and whether physicians’ experiences should and (or) can be used to evaluate the law, amend the law and be used for educational purposes.
What would you like prospective students to know? Never stop asking questions, never stop thinking in different ways and select a capstone project that reflects who you are and your passions.
Where is Ebony now? After leaving Rochester, Ebony went on to Harvard and received a Master's Degree in bioethics. She is now working for a law firm while studying for the LSAT.
Hometown: Massapequa, NY
Undergraduate school: SUNY Geneseo
Degree: Biology (Pre-med)
Career plans: Pediatric Oncologist
Capstone title: “An Introduction to Sex- and Gender-Based Medicine: Medical Student Orientation Workshop”
Capstone information: I created an educational workshop to educate medical students about the sex- and gender-bias in healthcare and to teach them how integrating the field of Sex- and Gender-Based Medicine into medical school curriculum can help address this bias. I presented this workshop to MD students at URSMD in January 2020 and will continue my work in this field as a medical student and physician.
Why did you choose the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry? I discovered the Medical Humanities program sort of by chance and I had no idea how much of an impact that this program would have on my life. When I interviewed for admission, I not only realized that the curriculum was exactly what I was looking for during my gap years, I also discovered that the Medical Humanities faculty and staff were all incredibly kind and extremely supportive of their students, and I knew that I had found my home! The two years I spent in this program were the most transformative years of my life. I am so grateful that I wasn’t accepted to medical school the first time around, because without the URSMD Medical Humanities program, I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today.
Where is Samantha now? Samantha is in medical school.
Hometown: Smithfield, UT
Undergraduate school: The University of Utah
Degree: BFA in Acting
Career plans: In addition to acting, directing, and play writing, I want to be a professor of medical humanities and theater.
Fun fact about me: I played in a World Series of Poker event on my 21st birthday.
About the Program: I am head over heels in love with this program! It is the perfect model of what multidisciplinary education should be. The professors and students all have different areas of expertise, but we share common goals of improving the way medicine is taught and practiced. The result is a family of people who are diverse, brilliant, passionate, compassionate, and supernaturally generous of spirit. Everyone teaches everyone else, and it is a privilege to be a part of.
Capstone Project: I taught a series of interactive theater workshops to fourth-year medical students and first-year residents. The goal was to use principles of improvisational acting to explore difficult conversations held within a medical context.
What would you like prospective students to know? If you are passionate about something, wish to share that passion with others, interested in the medical field, and willing to work your butt off, our program should be at the top of your list. Your experiences and interests will be welcome here, no matter what they are.
Where is Christian now? Christian is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in communication in health at George Mason University. His dissertation will be on the shift in social roles for patient and provider around a terminal diagnosis.
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Undergraduate School: University of Rochester
Degree: Major: Neuroscience; Minor: Art History
Career plans: Neurologist
Why did you choose the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry? I chose this program because of the opportunity to work with so many students and faculty from different backgrounds. I was particularly interested in the focus on the human aspect of healthcare. My academic career, until that point, had not had space to explore the humanities in relation to health and medicine.
Capstone Project Title: “Discussions and Representations of HIV by Drag Performers”
What would you like prospective students to know? Your capstone project is your biggest opportunity to be academically creative. Even if your interest lies in an unconventional area, faculty will be very supportive and make sure you get the resources you need to pursue your topic of interest.
Where is Madison now? Madison is enrolled in the College of Osteopathic Medicine in the New York Institute of Technology on Long Island.
Hometown: Newark, Delaware
Undergraduate School: Temple University
Degrees: Major: Vocal Performance / Minors: Music Education
Graduate School: Temple University Master of Music; Curtis Institute of Music Opera Diploma
Career plans: teach medical students how to actively listen and effectively collaborate
Fun fact about me: I won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Opera Recording’ in 2018
Why did you choose the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry? Since coming to the University of Rochester to teach voice at the Eastman School of Music in 2008, I have been lucky to interact with many faculty, students and staff across disciplines, particularly with regard to diversity, inclusion and gender equity. Many of my most cherished colleagues are associated with the School of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition, I began my research into physician-patient interactions as a co-author on a UR medical student’s project mentored by a physician at the University of Rochester Medical Center, whom I had previously sought out to explore connections between music and medicine. When I read that the SMD was going to offer a degree in medical humanities, I discovered that this field was the link I had been seeking and immediately applied to be accepted into the inaugural class.
Capstone Project Title: “Tuning In: Collaborative Skills in Music that Enrich Physician Communication Training with the Electronic Health Record”
What would you like prospective students to know? Anyone who feels drawn to healthcare in any capacity requires a breadth of education and perspective that cannot be taught within the limits of purely medical or technical training. Regardless of your background, Medical Humanities connects you to the history, culture and practice of medicine, and opens your channels for creative application of what is known about the body and how to read closely the myriad expressions of life experience in art, literature, history, philosophy, and more. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with such a stellar, innovative, multidisciplinary faculty, who are irrepressibly passionate about teaching and lifelong learning.
Where is Katherine now? Martin E. and Corazon D. Sanders Endowed Professor of Voice at Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
Hometown: Rochester, New York
Undergraduate School: Nazareth College of Rochester
Degree: Major: Biology; Minors: Pre-Med and Religious Studies
Career plans: To ultimately find myself in a place where I can be of service, while also having the opportunity to continuously learn and grow.
Fun fact about me: I auditioned for American Idol four times! I still sing, and have been in a local folk band for 9 years called The Lonely Ones.
Why did you choose the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry? I was specifically looking for a humanities/bioethics graduate degree program when I came across the program at the U of R. After meeting with the faculty and staff, and observing two of the courses, the decision to apply was an easy one. The faculty and staff’s passion for the program was palpable and translated into their teaching and interactions with prospective students. I knew I wanted to be a part of this group. Also, what better way to be immersed in the humanities, as it relates to medicine, than at a medical school?
Capstone Project Title: “Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Examining Consumer Experience through Narrative Analysis”
What would you like prospective students to know? The Medical Humanities Master’s Program encompasses and embodies the bio-psychosocial model (developed at the U of R). Each course will have a lasting impression and impact the way you view medicine, as it truly is both a science and an art. The Medical Humanities Master’s program will ensure the art is not lost!
Where is Sam now? Sam is currently working as a Medical Writer in Rochester, NY, utilizing the skills she gained from the writing intensive Master’s program! She has been accepted into the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Hometown: Meadowbrook, PA
Undergraduate School: University of Rochester
Degree: Major: History; Minors: Biology and Religion
Career plans: Physician
Why did you choose the Master’s Program in Medical Humanities? I was a pre-med student and hoped to one day become a physician. I wanted to not only pursue this master’s program as a gap year option, but to also use it to advance my knowledge of the humanities and how to incorporate that knowledge with medicine and ultimately my patients. I yearned for a connection between the humanities and science course work.
Capstone Project Title: “Exploring Patient Narratives of Lesbian and Bisexual Women and their Effect on Patient Care: A Qualitative Based Research Study using Phenomenological Methods”
What would you like prospective students to know? This program allowed me multiple opportunities for personal growth and flexibility. I received wonderful guidance from the faculty and was able to better my own knowledge as a student in the field of medical humanities.
Where is Ariel now? Currently, Ariel is a first year medical student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, New York.