Master of Public Health Student
Amelia Crawford discovered her passion for public health on a makeshift soccer field in Austin, Texas, where she developed friendships with immigrants from Mexico and several Latin American countries.
“They would often consult me with questions about their health as soon as they found out I was planning to study medicine,” says Crawford, who has been hooked on science since dissecting a cow’s heart in seventh grade.
In college, Crawford worked in Austin’s Volunteer Healthcare Clinic for the uninsured of Travis County and wrote her senior thesis about Latin-American folk medicine, documenting the alternatives used by those left out of the formal health care system. “As I interviewed patients, I came to understand how differences between a patient’s concept of health, illness and health care, and the realities of the health care system can lead to ineffective interactions between the two parties, and ultimately,” she says, “to poor outcomes.”
After seeing the multifactoral nature of maintaining one’s health—everything from transportation to environment and health literacy—she recognized that treating the whole patient required more than simply medicine.
In medical school, Crawford continued to work with the underserved, spearheading health education and outreach projects in a Houston hospital and a clinic for the uninsured. She plans to focus her Bloomberg School study on the social and behavioral aspects of public health, with a concentration on preventive health and health care in immigrant and underserved populations.