Student Spotlight: Harshita Jain

In a new feature, Student Spotlight, students working with or honored by the Institute will be highlighted. Harshita Jain is an undergraduate student intern this summer.


Harshita Jain, IMPH Summer Student Intern

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

School: South Carolina Honors College

Major: Global Health

Degree pursued: Bachelor’s in Arts

Expected graduation: 2017

How did you become interested in public health/medicine?

I have always been interested in clinical medicine since I was young. I did not know much about public health until I entered college. My interest in public health was sparked after reading Dr. Paul Farmer’s biography Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Through his work with tuberculosis in Haiti, I learned about holistic medicine that focuses on both preventative and curative medicine. I realized that in addition to practicing medicine, I was also interested in large-scale, preventative work.

What areas of public health/medicine are you most interested in and why?

I am most interested in Global Health, specifically Maternal and Child Health. The health of the mother affects the health of the child and that in consequence can affect what the child does through out his life and future generations.

What are your future plans?

Hopefully an MD/MPH.

If you weren’t studying public health (and/or premed), what would you study?

I think I would be majoring in Journalism and International Studies. I would like to be an international reporter of some sort.

Who do you consider your mentor or greatest inspiration and why?

My greatest inspiration are my parents. As first generation immigrants, they sacrificed so much so that my brother and I would have the opportunity to grow up and learn in the US. They are the ones that encourage me to put my mind to whatever it is that I am working on. They are my biggest supporters and most honest critics and I could not appreciate that more.

When you aren’t studying or working, what are your favorite activities?

I like to read, travel and try new restaurants.

Anything else you want to share or highlight?  Any scholastic/athletic/volunteer activities or recognitions? 

I was awarded the Exploration Grant from the South Carolina Honors College for my research in Orissa, India. This research hopes to determine the care-seeking behavior of pregnant women in Orissa. It will involve a community based participatory research where local women will be trained to give a survey to women of different religious and socioeconomic backgrounds to better understand why they might pick traditional birth attendants over skilled ones.


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