Latin American, Latino/a
and Caribbean Studies at Miami University
Student Profile: Brittany Jacobs
Next year I will attend medical school, and I am confident that Miami has equipped me to be the physician I want to become. My goal is to provide medical care in high-risk areas, in Latin America and within the Latin American immigrant community in the US, and to continue to live as a person who never stops learning about the world around me.
"Hello, I'm Brittany Jacobs, and I'm excited to share with you a snapshot of what life at Miami is like for me. I view it as an incredible privilege to be a part of the minority of the world's population that is able to attend a university. With that privilege comes the responsibility to not take for granted the opportunities and resources that have been placed in front of me. Through my majors in zoology and Latin American studies, a minor in Spanish, and Miami Plan courses ranging from anthropology to art history, I've gained a broader view of life and the ability to analyze things from different perspectives.
The classroom, however, is not where learning ends. My interactions with professors and classmates and involvement in student organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ have enabled me to develop the passions and abilities that make me the person I am today. My classes have served as a launching pad for learning, providing a foundation of knowledge that then comes to life through real-life interactions with people within and outside of the university. The connections I've made with local and international communities are an invaluable part of my learning experience.
Here are the most significant experiences I've participated in through Miami:"
Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education Preceptorship
"Pre-med students at Miami can apply for a week-long shadowing experience with a physician who is an alum. During spring break of my junior year, I 'shadowed' an orthopedic surgeon in Louisville. Living with Dr. Loeb and his family and spending everyday at work with him in both the clinic and in the operating room provided me with a greater understanding of the reality of life as a physician."
Students for Peace and Justice Delegation to Peru
"Students for Peace and Justice is a non-partisan student-run coalition working for justice in the world and in local communities. This year, through donations from several university departments to help with the cost of the trip, we visited Peru over spring break. We met with non-profit organizations fighting for social justice and learned about issues such as human trafficking, urban and rural poverty, indigenous rights, and the life of children living on the streets. In order to raise awareness on campus about the issues we learned about in Peru, we will host a series of events called Globalization Gone Wild."
Community Involvement through an Honors Course-extension
"During my junior year, I asked my professor if I could do an Honors course extension of his Latinos in the U.S course (LAS 260). My goal was to find a place in the community where I could learn firsthand about the healthcare issues faced by immigrants from Latin America. With the help of Miami faculty and staff who work closely with the Latino community, I contacted an outreach nurse manager who leads health education classes for Spanish speakers in Hamilton, Ohio. I attended the class, called Sobremesa, each week throughout the semester.
For the first few weeks I simply watched the way in which the women interacted with each other and with the nurse-teacher. I learned about the concept of 'medical culture' in relation to the views and perspectives on medical care that Mexican immigrants carry with them to the U.S. The next step was to hear from the women themselves, so I asked them to complete a survey that I wrote inquiring about their personal experiences with health care. The survey served as a catalyst for open discussions that brought to light some of the major issues faced by their community in accessing quality healthcare. The major problem identified was lack of information about how to deal with the language barrier, the cost of medical care, and transportation.
I decided to create a brochure in Spanish (Guía de Asistencia
Médica para la Comunidad Latina [PDF]) that would provide information about healthcare access. I wrote a proposal and received funds through Miami's Office of Diversity Affairs for the design and printing of 1,000 brochures. I took the brochures to Sobremesa and asked the women to distribute them to restaurants and grocery stores in their community. I also asked the nurse to distribute them to doctor's offices and similar locations.
This experience taught me so much about myself and the community where I live and about healthcare and culture. While I can't say that I've come to profound conclusions about how to solve the healthcare crisis, or to ensure that all people receive quality healthcare, I can say that I gained some insight into the reality that these women and others like them face every day, which brings me one step farther in my journey towards becoming a physician who truly cares for the whole person."