Response Magazine

Rachel Ellis Hammer

Rachel Ellis HammerPhysician, Medicine, and Psychiatry at Tulane University

New Orleans, Louisiana

Biochemistry major 2007

With a background in biochemistry, Hammer is currently a resident physician in pursuit of double-boarding in medicine and psychiatry at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is working to establish a Narrative Medicine program at Tulane and loves the city of New Orleans and all it has to offer.

How does your time at SPU connect to the work you’re doing today?

New Orleans is a city with unbelievable poverty and incredible culture, two things I discovered I have passion for while at SPU. I returned to SPU after college to complete a master’s in fine arts – creative writing so that I could write about the experience I had teaching in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While writing a book about those years, I realized that I had left a lot of work (a sense of calling) unfinished in New Orleans, and very much wanted to return to complete my residency — and possibly to stay for life.

Who made a difference in your SPU education?

Dr. Luke Reinsma and the late Dr. Cindy Fitch. Dr. Fitch mentored me to be a competitive medical school candidate, such that I was able to earn a full-ride scholarship to Mayo Clinic for my medical training. And Dr. Reinsma has remained a mentor over the years.

What advice do you have for students about life after graduation?

Minimize your debt! And get out of Seattle — come down South, that is where the good fight is for civil rights, and where much work remains to be done on the fronts of education and health care.

 

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