As a budding medical student, making an impact in the lives of patients is paramount to a successful and fulfilling career.

For Britney Harris, personal experience with close relatives who were diagnosed with cancer and Alzheimers disease shaped her view of medicine. Growing up in Elberfeld, Indiana, those experiences helped her find the way to West Virginia University on her journey to making an impact.

A third year student in the School of Medicine’s doctorate of medicine program, Britney was rececently selected as one of only 40 students to participate in the Paul Ambrose Scholars Program, which exposes students from different health disciplines to influential public health professionals and prepares them to be leaders in addressing population health challenges at the national and community level.

“Medical school curricula are very demanding and many students might shy away from additional projects, so we are very proud of Britney and her hard work and determination to pursue this opportunity,” said Norman Ferrari, M.D., vice dean for medical education and academic affairs and chair of medical education.

“She was also recently peer nominated to membership in our Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), so it has been a wonderful year of achievement for this rising star.”

Ambrose Scholars will formulate a project concept addressing health promotion or disease prevention within their communities. After attending a symposium, held this year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in April, scholars will have one year to complete and report on project outcomes.

“My community-based project will address the issue of obesity because it is such a huge problem for our nation and in particular the Appalachian region,” Britney said. “Through this program, I will learn to better identify problems in the community and come up with the most efficient ways to approach them. I will also get the opportunity to learn new skills without stepping out of medical school.”