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Katherine McDaniel

Class of 2014-2015

About Katherine

updated 6/2015: Katherine McDaniel was born and raised in Bloomington, IN, the daughter of a biomedical engineer and a nurse-midwife. She grew up appreciating the power of both scientific innovations and patient-level efforts to improve human health, and hopes to incorporate both into a career as a physician focusing on global health. Katherine will graduate from Yale College in May with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Her research, conducted both at Yale and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, seeks to inhibit bacterial group behavior and thus guide development of therapeutics less likely to provoke resistance as compared to standard antibiotics. In addition to her scientific pursuits, she has developed a keen interest in the health of disadvantaged populations, starting with her work as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients at Yale’s HAVEN Free Clinic. Her experience at HAVEN prompted her to join the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative (YEHCI), which allowed her to work in Ecuador for a summer doing global health research, HIV testing, and sexual health education. She later served as Outreach Director and Co- Executive Director of YEHCI, guiding its evolution into a new initiative – Student Partnerships for Global Health. Inspired by her experience in Ecuador and preparing other students for the same, she is now conducting survey- and interview-based research on how global health research experiences impact students and their host communities. The initial findings are being used to shape Yale’s pre-departure training for global health researchers and will inspire case studies about student global health ethics in Global Health 101, 3rd Edition. Katherine also works as a research assistant to Professor Richard Skolnik, the author of this textbook. In addition to providing academic insights, these experiences have fostered a delight in learning from other cultures.  A Christian, she joined a Jewish, Hebrew and Israeli a cappella group her freshman year and has since embraced Jewish culture and become proficient in Hebrew. She has knit and shared patterns with knitters on five continents, played French horn with groups ranging from the Yale Concert Band to South African and Lithuanian street bands, and enjoyed Argentine tango lessons taught in Hebrew. 
During her Luce year, Katherine is placed at Buddhism for Development (BFD) in Battambang, Cambodia, where she works on BFD’s HIV programs with her colleagues to bridge the gap between hospital and home by coordinating medical appointments, providing money for transportation, setting up support groups with village-based counselors, and doing community education to roll back stigma and guard against further transmission. In responding to an unprecedented HIV outbreak in the nearby Roka Commune, where 212 people were diagnosed with HIV from contaminated injections within three weeks, Katherine has witnessed the complex interplay between communities, the government, NGOs, and donors. As she prepares for a medical career, she looks forward to continuing to learn from many places and people and uniting those perspectives for benefit of global health.

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