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Noah Ashenafi

Major in Biology, Pre-med
Minors in Medicine, Literature, & Culture and Creative Writing

While I have always acknowledged the importance of biomedicine, the health humanities at UNC have taught me that there is more to determining whether someone is healthy. In recent years, I’ve become interested in the practice of alternative medicine, especially those in other cultures. In America, it is easy to think that a prescription drug is the only thing that can treat disease, when in reality total healing comes from addressing the physical, emotional, and mental health of the body. I think that teaching the health humanities to aspiring physicians during undergrad and medical school will produce better doctors. The health humanities is the key to providing patients with the best care and treatment.

Maliha Bhuiyan

Major in Nutrition Science and Research (BSPH) and Medical Anthropology
Minors in Biology and Chemistry

My interest in medicine and medical humanities arose from witnessing a diverse spectrum of healthcare across nations. During my own journey as a patient, I travelled in hopes of finding better medical care— an experience which opened my eyes to various approaches to patient care as well as the various exchanges that take place in spaces of healing. Through observing and experiencing the exhilarating impacts of healing, I developed a deep appreciation for medicine; however, I realized that healing was centered around numerical charts and vitals, with less regard to the individuality of patients themselves. This realization has led to my interest in medical humanities as I am fascinated by the dynamics of physician-patient interactions and ways such interactions can be further strengthened for better care.

Mili Dave

Double Major in Chemistry and Biology
Minor in Medical Anthropology

As a student with an interdisciplinary love for the hard sciences and humanities, I strove at the beginning of undergrad to find an outlet merging my academic interests together. Studying the health humanities is the perfect blend of these passions, enabling me to examine patient care through humanistic lenses of emotion and interaction. I ultimately hope to translate the valuable insights into healthcare I gain through my writing at HHIVE in my practice as a future physician. I am particularly interested in pursuing trauma and critical care, and want to deepen my understanding of individual patient experiences in the field of medicine.

Baylee Materia 

Black and white headshot of a curly-haired woman standing against a neutral background and folding her arms. She wears a suit and cocks her head right in a smirk.Undergraduate Student, BA Neuroscience, Pre-Med 

When Baylee Materia made the decision to enter college as a STEM major, she assumed that she would have to toss her love of humanities aside. Discovering the HHIVE lab taught her not only that she can merge these seemingly contrasting passions of hers, but that an interdisciplinary approach is essential in a pre-medical curriculum. The job of a physician goes beyond the concrete science and technical intellect; one must be emotionally intelligent and able to understand the complex socioeconomic and cultural determinants of health. With a background in the health humanities, Baylee hopes to become a member of a new generation of healthcare professionals that approaches their work with a more nuanced and compassionate perspective.

Tulsi Patel

Headshot of a raven-haired, olive-toned woman standing in front of a fan and an empty room. She wears a white shirt.Undergraduate Student, BA Neuroscience and Medical Anthropology 

Tulsi Patel has always thought that her love for the hard sciences and her appreciation for cultural studies had to be isolated. The realm of health humanities proves that these two fields can be meaningfully melded together. She is specifically interested in how cultural values affect people’s perceptions of health and how that influences their healthcare experiences. She aims to learn more about these topics in the context of the Asian-American community and rural populations. HHIVE offers the opportunity to bridge her majors while providing the humanistic, narrative-driven side of medicine. She ultimately hopes to become more informed about how culture drives the patient experience and to gain a holistic perspective of what it means to be healthy.

Abigail Pugh

Headshot of a dirty-blonde woman with chest-length straight hair standing against green foliage. She is smiling and has a bronze skin tone. She wears a V-necked blue shirt.Undergraduate Student, BA Business Administration and Health Policy and Management, Minor in Medicine, Literature, and Culture 

Abigail Pugh is a current sophomore from Raleigh, NC, who plays on the women’s club lacrosse team and is on the Executive Branch’s Student Wellness and Safety Staff. Her interest in the health humanities stems from a project she conducted in a first year seminar centered around the Stories to Save Lives Project, in which the class investigated the oral histories of a wide array of individuals within North Carolina. Specifically, Abigail is passionate about the variance within maternal mortality rates in the current U.S between women of different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and other divisive identifying characteristics. She is a firm believer that an individual’s explanatory model within medicine is directly correlated with certain societal expectations and modes of oppression they may or may not be exposed to on a daily basis outside of healthcare. Her goal is not to become a physician, nurse, or medical professional, but instead to work on the administrative side of healthcare to diminish the inequalities and inequities that prevent all people to getting equitable access to care and treatments. She also has a great passion towards achieving total childhood literacy within the U.S as an individual’s literacy rate is a direct predictor of later success in life and the ability to break free from generational cycles of crime, poverty, abuse, and addiction.

Shamar Wilson

Major in Pre-Health Policy & Management
Carolina Scholar

As a black student growing up in rural North Carolina, learning in an educational curriculum that was primarily centered around white voices and white stories made it difficult for me to find my place as a writer and storyteller. In recent years, through seeking mentors, role models, and diversified courses I have been able to gain exposure to historically unheard narratives. The experiences and perspectives that I gained from hearing these narratives have encouraged me to find my own voice through writing/storytelling while also revealing that I, too, can have an impact on students like myself. Listening and advocating for marginalized communities is a practice that I strive to further develop every day. Currently, I work as a NA I at UNC Hospitals and I view the time I spend with my patients as a learning experience on how I can further understand the life stories of others. With one of my goals being to become a physician, it is my goal to listen, understand, and validate the stories, perspectives, and experiences of my patients. I hope to eventually do work in preventive medicine in rural communities to aid in eliminating healthcare disparities such as access to healthcare.