2014-2015 Luce Scholar

Buddhism for Development Battambang, CAMBODIA

Katherine McDaniel was born and raised in Bloomington, IN, the daughter of a biomedical engineer and a nurse-midwife. She grew up appreciating the power of both scientific innovations and patient-level efforts to improve human health, and hopes to incorporate both into a career as a physician focusing on global health. Katherine graduated from Yale College in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Her research, conducted both at Yale and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, seeks to inhibit bacterial group behavior and thus guide development of therapeutics less likely to provoke resistance as compared to standard antibiotics.

In addition to her scientific pursuits, she has developed a keen interest in the health of disadvantaged populations, starting with her work as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients at Yale’s HAVEN Free Clinic. Her experience at HAVEN prompted her to join the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative (YEHCI), which allowed her to work in Ecuador for a summer doing global health research, HIV testing, and sexual health education. She later served as Outreach Director and Co-Executive Director of YEHCI, guiding its evolution into a new initiative – Student Partnerships for Global Health. Inspired by her experience in Ecuador and preparing other students for the same, she is now conducting survey- and interview-based research on how global health research experiences impact students and their host communities. The initial findings are being used to shape Yale’s pre-departure training for global health researchers and will inspire case studies about student global health ethics in Global Health 101, 3rd Edition.

Katherine also works as a research assistant to Professor Richard Skolnik, the author of this textbook. In addition to providing academic insights, these experiences have fostered a delight in learning from other cultures. A Christian, she joined a Jewish, Hebrew and Israeli a cappella group her freshman year and has since embraced Jewish culture and become proficient in Hebrew. She has knit and shared patterns with knitters on five continents, played French horn with groups ranging from the Yale Concert Band to South African and Lithuanian street bands, and enjoyed Argentine tango lessons taught in Hebrew. As Katherine prepares for a medical career, she looks forward to continuing to learn from many places and people and uniting those perspectives for benefit of global health.

With Buddhism for Development, 2014-2015 Luce Scholar Katherine will work to support and evaluate community health initiatives including home based care, malaria management and prevention, access to primary health care, maternity and infant health, and HIV/AIDS. Buddhism for Development was established by Buddhist monks in 1990 in the camps along the Cambodia-Thai border. Buddhism for Development for now works in seven provinces in the north and west of Cambodia, from its headquarters in Battambang, the capital city of Battambang province, on the grounds of Wat Anlongvil.