Luke Merrill, a student at Dakota Wesleyan University, is a student leader passionate about global and local healthcare issues. As a first year student, he took the initiative to be involved in a trip to Uganda, participating in the launch of several community-based partnership programs, including a school feeding program, farmer field research, and a healthcare clinic. Luke has used his experience in Uganda and at DWU to seek a deeper understanding of health issues in communities. Luke enrolled in an independent study focused on Indian Health Services, where he hopes to work closely with advocates and professionals seeking to bring change to local communities. Luke's passion for understanding both the broad and specific picture of social issues leads him to committed studies in biochemistry, healthcare, and community engagement.
I have a deep commitment to improving community life by finding ways to combat issues related to poor healthcare. After visiting impoverished areas in Uganda, Africa on a service trip, I noticed how similar those conditions were to some of those on Native American reservations in South Dakota that are also in crisis. Because I have an interest in healthcare, I am participating in an independent study of Indian Health Services (IHS) to determine the macro, meso, and micro causes of the inadequate healthcare system. My hope, as a Newman Fellow, is to be able to build connections with others, discuss the causes of issues on a larger political scale, and problem solve for solutions to improve IHS, as well as healthcare on both a global and local level. I am interested in a person's physical, emotional, and social health and see those come into play through my participation in Student Senate, as well as my work as a peer mentor and tutor. Outside of the classroom, I volunteer at my local hospital in the operating room, volunteer as a hospice companion, and work as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.