Sarah Whitmire, UNC Charlotte
Sarah Whitmire, a Levine Scholar in her third year at UNC Charlotte, has always been driven to pursue medical education and health research that will prepare her to serve the most vulnerable populations in ways that improve the quality of their lives. Over the past two years, she has undertaken an energetic research agenda in both the laboratory and community, working with scholars on campus and in Carolinas Healthcare System. Although she has explored the relationship between health behaviors, education, and outcomes in multiple settings, she has always been driven to understand the intersection between the patient, the protocol, and the system. The two-year relationship she has developed with homeless women in her community-based research project in Charlotte has equipped her to make a difference in the lives of the people for whom she cares, and to witness firsthand the challenges people face in accessing health education and services. Ms. Whitmire’s understanding of the patient at a human level positions her to take this integrated perspective into her graduate student and professional life, as she continues to explore the multiple facets of health interventions and service delivery.
-Philip Dubois, Chancellor
While the reasons for volunteering might be different from person to person, I’ve always felt a strong drive to use my skills to improve the lives of those with the fewest resources. Three years ago, this drive was further ignited when I reached out to the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter, which houses women and children in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. I volunteer with the nonprofit clinic associated with the shelter, whose mission is to promote self-sufficiency by providing free healthcare. In addition to working directly with the residents, I’ve participated and initiated multiple health-related projects at the shelter to promote health, to provide education, and to encourage preventative measures. One of my most significant accomplishments was creating a research project with the goal of providing a self-sustainable way for this high-risk population to control their blood pressure. Throughout the 500+ hours of working there, I’ve developed leadership and civic engagement skills that will be applicable for the rest of my life, in addition to developing many unique friendships. I want to become a physician who provides care for the underprivileged. Volunteering has solidified my reasons for choosing this path, which will provide a means for me to make a lasting impact in any community.