Anushka Das entered her undergraduate career at USC with her sights set on medical school. After a year of basic science classes, she decided to take a summer anthropology course that involved backpacking 200 miles of Spain’s Camino de Santiago and conducting fieldwork along the way.
For centuries, the pilgrimage had served as a means for people to get closer to the Catholic saints and beg for cures to their ailments or atonement for their sins. As a pre-medical student, Das was fascinated by physical and mental healing and wondered if such motivations inspired today’s hikers as well.
Through the stories she gathered, Das realized there is a duality to medicine, a distinction between pain and the experience of it, between disease and illness, and between a cure and healing. The former is cut-and-dry, a scientific definition. The latter is an interpretation, a uniquely individual experience. She endeavored to learn how she could apply this knowledge as a future physician. In addition to her major in Human Biology, she pursued a minor in Cultural Anthropology.
In her junior year, Das learned about the Keck School of Medicine of USC Master of Science in Global Medicine program. She felt that it combined her interests in anthropology and medicine by delving into the scientific aspects of disease and the humanistic qualities that make illness unique to different cultures. She thoroughly enjoyed learning about disease around the world and how international health organizations tailor their care to specific populations.
As a progressive degree student, Das will graduate this spring with both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She looks forward to fighting on again as a medical student at the Keck School, where she hopes to continue pursuing her passions in global health and medical anthropology.