Student Spotlight October 2023
Caitlin Reichard is a 2nd-year medical student finishing her final course for her Master's in Healthcare Ethics. She is a 1st generation college student and is anticipated to graduate in December of 2023.
Q: What brought you to the University of Louisville?
A: When I was applying to medical schools, the University of Louisville was the only program that had offered a dual MD and Master's in Bioethics and Medical Humanities (the name at the time), which made it incredibly novel in my eyes. Thus, when I was admitted to both programs and offered the Diversity Fellowship for my MA, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Q: What made you go into this field of study?
A: I pursued a Master's in Healthcare Ethics to help guide my moral decision-making as a future physician, develop my perspective on vital, controversial issues in medicine, and identify systemic problems to reduce healthcare disparities in underserved populations such as the Spanish-speaking, rural, and LGBTQ communities, each of which I had a personal connection. I thought a background in healthcare ethics would best prepare me to become a physician advocate and provide patient-centered care at an individual and societal level.
Q: How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?
A: The Master's in Healthcare Ethics helped me develop essential competencies regarding the factors influencing clinical practice (social, political, and economic forces) and how to care for the human condition (via classes addressing death/grief management, end-of-life care, and weighting quality of life versus treatment). This background and my personal interactions with certain underserved communities position me to identify systemic problems and try to reduce healthcare disparities as a future physician.
Q: What are your long-term goals or aspirations?
A: Currently, I'm interested in hematology-oncology and critical care as specialties. I'm attracted to their knowledge sets and the relationship and impact they have on their patients and their loved ones. I think these specialties also have ample policy and thick committee opportunities, so I can continue to advocate for better care beyond the bedside. I'm currently the AMA/KMA chapter president at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and I'd like to continue my work ith organized medicine and healthcare policy throughout my career.
A talent you have always wanted: To be fluent in Spanish.
Favorite book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Favorite quote: "Be curious, not judgemental."
Role Model: My mom. I was raised by a single mother, who was permanently disabled after a car cash with 2 drunk drivers prior to adopting me from China. Her life was dramatically changed after the crash, yet she continues to be a strong, independent woman with the biggest heart. I admire her resilience, work ethic, and dedication to those she loves. I wouldn't be where I am today without her.
Favorite thing to do or place to go in Louisville: Racing Louisville games, walking the Big Four Bridge with my love, trying new breweries, and game nights with friends.
If you weren't in graduate school, what would you be doing now? I'd be in medical school. Even on the hard days, I really couldn't imagine being in any other career. medicine is such an interesting and dynamic field! I love that I'll get to use what I'm learning now to help patients during difficult times.