Katherine Anderson, Team Leader
Katherine grew up spending her time outdoors in the wild mountain west that is Idaho. Her parents helped cultivate her innate love of medicine by obtaining a fisher price doctor kit and adding requested “tools” as needed. She would later go on to ski patrol at a local resort for six years. It was there that she found she loved working directly with patients. She went on to obtain her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. Currently she is a second year medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine who spends most her time studying next to her green, growing plants, which serve as a reminder that the great outdoors still exist.
Katherynne Greve, Team Member
Katherynne grew up in rural Tennessee, a couple hours’ drive north of Memphis. Between playing soccer and counseling at summer camps, she stayed busy in high school and loved the community of a small town. Upon graduation, she attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (go Mocs!) where she obtained a degree in chemistry. After traveling to the Dominican Republic twice during college on mission trips, she decided to spend a year after graduation volunteering at rural nonprofits/clinics both back in West Tennessee and then abroad in Guatemala, which helped cement her decision to pursue medicine with a focus in low-income areas. She was later accepted into medical school at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis where she is a current first year and moved to the Midwest to join her husband Hendrik (fellow finalist). She enjoys running in warm weather, hiking, and drinking unsweet tea (never liked Southern sweet tea!) when she is not studying.
Hendrik Greve, Team Member
Hendrik was raised as the youngest of five in rural West Tennessee. He spent a good bit of his childhood building tree forts and playing music in a garage band with his friends. He moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for college where he discovered his love of biochemical research and philosophy. After undergraduate graduation, he matriculated at Indiana University School of Medicine where he is a current 2nd year medical student in the joint MD/PhD program. While studying takes up most of his time, he does enjoy working at the student-run outreach clinic on weekends, extreme weather camping with his brother, and going on runs with his wife.
For a generation considered to be more globalized than any other in previous existence, we consistently fail to connect on a personal and meaningful level. As medical students, we are often stuck in a bubble with people so similar to us that we may begin to believe that everyone experiences life in the same manner as us or holds the same set of values and beliefs. We want to change the world in a positive manner and influence people for the better, yet we often fail to stretch beyond our computer screens. This disconnect—this gap—between our proximity to each other and actual physical interactions and experiences with others leads to an isolation that can separate us from our future patients. Talk and desire are worthy stepping stones; however, being on the ground level and having personal experience transitions passive learning to active learning. It helps to expel us from our social isolation bubble and see what may have been around us in various forms from the beginning.
Students often learn treatment of patients in terms of ‘gold standards.’ Treat “X” with drug “Y.” But, this model of care completely ignores the patient’s circumstances and worldview. We don’t often consider whether that patient can afford drug “Y” or why they don’t comply with medication. And, when that patient has a bag full of supplements, we don’t understand why they would be hesitant to take a prescription medication. Again, this disconnect separates us from patients in a way we are often unaware. The beauty and humility in global missions is that these circumstances are like bright neon signs on a dark winter night: they cannot be ignored.
For one of us, this realization of the necessity of human connection in healthcare came about on a trip to Guatemala. This is her story:
There was a patient who visited our rural healthcare clinic who had breast cancer. She was a single mom with two teenage daughters (close to my own age at the time), who struggled on a day-to-day basis to feed herself and her daughters. She skipped meals to save for bus rides to Guatemala City where radiation equipment was located; however, each time she went, the equipment was broken. This story struck a note because my mother had breast cancer years ago. My mom made a full recovery, but, for reasons outside this woman’s control, her story would be very different. We visited her home on multiple occasions to sit with her and her daughters to talk through options. Eventually we helped the family make burial arrangements for their mother. This story was a riveting experience, and it truly transformed the way I saw the need for humanistic patient encounter.
A global experience is essential to be able to truly understand the fact that healthcare is not about us or our treatment plans. Rather it is about the patient and their wellness: that means meeting them where they are in their environment and beliefs.