Name: Karis Ho (she/her)
Year of Study: Junior
Major: Public Health-Global Health, Comparative History of Ideas
Hometown: Mill Creek, WA
Why did you choose to pursue the Public Health-Global Health Major?
I became interested in Public Health-Global Health through its intersection with social justice. I initially understood global health as only being the study of worldwide diseases. During the fall, I took a bioethics course, where I learned about the rampant disparities within the health system. At the same time, I started an internship with a local nonprofit where I helped connect immigrants and refugees to physical and mental health services. This combination of learning within and outside the classroom made me realize how public and global health aligns perfectly with my passion for bridging inequalities experienced by racial minorities.
What has been most valuable about your global health coursework/learning thus far?
I most appreciate how the interdisciplinary nature of my coursework allows me to explore different social determinants of health. For example, through my food systems classes, I learned about the physical and financial barriers to accessing healthy food. In my current Anthropology course about global epidemics, I dove into location-specific issues, such as the post-colonial inequities in Guadeloupe that prevent adequate rehabilitation medicine. Exploring health issues that overlap into different fields of study has helped me develop a holistic understanding of global health.
What experiences at the UW have been most influential?
Through a UW hybrid course with Omprakash, I have been interning with a local nonprofit that serves immigrants and refugees in King County. I’ve really enjoyed being directly involved with a local community, making a tangible difference. The experience has also allowed me to develop skills in grant writing and communication, as well as how to work within a nonprofit organization.
What are your professional goals?
I’d like to address social inequalities faced by racial minorities, providing them with care and resources needed to live healthier lives. While I’m not yet sure of what specific career path I’d like to pursue within nonprofit work, I know I want to make a difference within the community I serve in.
Please share your recommendations for prospective and/or current undergraduates on ways in which they may maximize their experience in Global Health (i.e.: events, classes, GH faculty/staff to connect with, etc.)
UW is a large university, so explore the many courses that are available to you! As a freshman, I was surprised by the number of interdisciplinary and unconventional classes available, such as “Psychology of Happiness” or “Medical Anthropology and Global Health.” They were such a refreshing change from my more rigidly-structured high school coursework, and allowed me to make some interesting connections. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to professors! It can seem intimidating, especially in a virtual setting, but I guarantee they’ll be happy to talk with you, whether you need help with homework or want to learn more about their career journey.
As a member of the Global Health Undergraduate Advisory Board, how do you envision building community within the student body and how may students connect with you for ideas/inquires?
Getting involved at a large institution like UW can certainly be intimidating, especially in an online setting. So I look forward to reaching out to students through social media and fun virtual events, connecting with them through our shared interest in Global Health and building a safe space where students can engage on a deeper level. Whether you have questions, need a study buddy, or just want to learn more about global health at UW, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’m always happy to meet a fellow Husky!