Patrick Smith '16 CON


As a future health professional, I, like many others, hold an ambitious vision for the future of global health equity: a world in which all people—regardless of geographic, socioeconomic or political barriers—have access to the essential resources necessary for them to thrive.

As a high school junior, I was drawn to the nursing profession by a sense of compassion and an appreciation for the profound impact that capable health care professionals can have on patients, families and populations. At Villanova, I have found great joy in providing compassionate care to diverse populations, especially through clinical and service-oriented experiences in the Philadelphia area.

Following my sophomore year at Villanova, I participated in the Public Health Leadership and Learning Undergraduate Student Success (PLLUSS) Program, a competitive internship program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that seeks to create future public health leaders by engaging diverse undergraduate students in mentored research opportunities. Working with researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, I had the opportunity to lead two studies examining innovative health care delivery to low-income, functionally challenged older adults in Baltimore. Moreover, with the support of dedicated mentors in community health, I have presented my research at numerous academic conferences and submitted two manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed nursing journals.

As a junior, seeking to further my cultural competency and my understanding of global healthcare delivery, I elected to serve as a Global Impact Fellow for Unite for Sight in Ghana. During this eight-week service experience, I applied my clinical assessment and research skills to assist in delivery of eye care to low-income, rural-dwelling Ghanaians while contributing to larger projects that have further enhanced population assessment and outcomes tracking. This trip was made possible through the financial support and guidance from Villanova’s Center for Global Leadership, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, the Davis Family Foundation, and College of Nursing professors Elizabeth Dowdell and Ruth McDermott-Levy.

As I near graduation, I have identified a strong desire to advocate for nurses’ involvement in public health; promote patient-centered care through data-driven policy recommendations; and lend unique perspectives to the dynamic, diverse and developing field of global health equity. All of these goals are closely tied to the friends, mentors and institutional supports I have found at Villanova; and I look forward to carrying forth these goals – as well as the Augustinian values which inform them – in future endeavors.

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