Human Science Senior Focuses on Health Workforce, Health Disparities

NOVEMBER 15, 2017 - Taylor Franklin (NHS’18) is a senior human science major and grew up nearby in Virginia. During her time at Georgetown, Franklin has been involved in several activities and organizations, ranging from health disparities research and the Community Scholars Program, to her role as president of the Georgetown University Minority Association for Pre-Health Students.

In preparation for medical school, Franklin plans to spend the year after graduation working in a clinical setting, “preferably in underserved areas in the District,” she notes. Below are some of Franklin’s thoughts about her Georgetown experience.

Question: How have you enjoyed Georgetown and your major?

Franklin: I have enjoyed Georgetown tremendously. Georgetown, for me, has been an experience of all around growth: academically, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Georgetown and the NHS have really shaped me into the person that I am today with a passion for social justice, community outreach, and reducing health inequities.

I’ve developed a certain sense of confidence that I was entirely lacking when I began in the fall of my freshman year, and I have seen myself go from being shy to send professors emails to being able to have full-fledged conversations with them in office hours. The human science major, in particular, has truly taught me to challenge myself and think critically, which I will continue to carry with me beyond Georgetown.

What I enjoy about human science the most is that it has allowed me to piece all my courses together and have a comprehensive understanding of the human body. I feel that being a human science major, I have been able to gain well-rounded knowledge that would be difficult to receive elsewhere.

Question:  Tell us a little bit about your time at Georgetown, including your activities.

Franklin: My freshman year, I began Gospel Choir because it reminded me of home, as I grew up singing in a church choir. Beyond that, I have been a part of many organizations geared towards enhancing the experiences of students from marginalized communities. In particular, I was a resident assistant (RA) for the Community Scholars Program, which is a program to help prepare first-generation students of color, with financial need, for their transition into college.

Being a community scholar myself, I had a deep connection with the program, and it has helped me immensely throughout my time here. I, then, went on to tutor “human biology” for the Community Scholars Program for two years. I have also been the health chair of the NAACP at Georgetown, and I currently serve as a human science representative on the Minority Health Initiative Council of the NHS. I have also worked at Yates Field House since the spring of my freshman year. I currently do research with Debbie Barrington, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of human science, in her research group on racial and ethnic health disparities.

One of my favorite roles has been serving on the board of the Georgetown University Minority Association for Pre-Health Students (GUMAPS) for the past two years. I was treasurer my junior year, and this year, I’ve transitioned into the role of president. GUMAPS has given me the ability to bring together my interests of medicine, community service, professional development, and mentorship into one space. It has also given me a forum to help in the development of the next generation of culturally competent and diverse health professionals.

Question: What aspect about your Georgetown learning experience stands out as really positive?

Franklin: The most positive aspect of my learning experience here at Georgetown has been not only seeing myself progress immensely, but, more importantly, I have been able to pass on my knowledge to others. I think the most fulfilling moments of my undergraduate career have been while tutoring and mentoring others. It’s because I know I’m not doing something just for myself and it has been a role I have honestly fell in love with. I am the first tutor for community scholars in the NHS, and I hope this tutoring program will continue so that more people of color from these disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to remain in the NHS and move on to become health care professionals.