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Senior Spotlight: Isabelle Stewart

BSPH senior Isabelle Stewart reflects on Loyola experience

Driven by her own family’s lack of healthcare access, Isabelle Stewart aspires to understand what barriers prevent her future patients from living healthy lives. She says the community at Loyola University Chicago’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health has prepared her to do just that. Learn more about what made Isabelle’s Parkinson experience memorable:

What prompted your interest in public health?

Although my sister and I were born in Indianapolis, most of my family is from rural Appalachia in Kentucky. Watching them struggle getting access to care or even quality care made me passionate about discovering more health disparities and how to correct them.

Why did you come to Loyola?

I came to Loyola for several reasons. First, I attended a Jesuit high school and really admired the Jesuit emphasis on social justice. Second, my older sister had attended so I was already familiar with Loyola and loved the different programs that they offered. Finally, I wanted to experience life in a city. I had spent my whole life in either suburban or rural areas, and I wanted to see what a city could offer.

What was the most memorable part of your time at Loyola?

I honestly think the most memorable part of my time at Loyola was joining and participating in the Public Health program. Since my cohort was one of the first and is relatively small, I've built a small community with them and have met some of my best friends through the program. I have also never felt so supported and valued as I did in this program. Keith Kramer is always willing to help and quite frankly, come to the rescue, whenever an issue occurs. Before joining, I had only ever met my former advisor once, but Keith takes the time to get to know each one of us.

Finally, my professors have been some of the most astounding and supportive people I have ever met. Julie Darnell, Sparkle Springfield, Daniel Swartzman, Michelle Kavoosi, Anthony McIntosh, Justin Harbison, and so, so many others have been nothing short of incredible. They have truly wanted to see me succeed and that means more than I could ever say.

What are you planning to do with your degree after graduation?

After graduation, I will be attending Indiana University School of Medicine in Fall 2022 in the Rural Medical Education Program. I hope to apply what I have learned in public health to be the best possible doctor I can be, understanding the barriers that may stand in the way of my patients' health and working with them to create the best care plan to help them achieve their goals. Without Parkinson’s Public Health program, I would not be where I am today. This incredible group of people has truly supported and lifted me up so that I could realize and accomplish my dreams. I cannot thank them enough.