Ms Lauren Killingsworth (2018)
My research focuses on maps of cholera outbreaks made by physicians in nineteenth-century Britain. I aim to understand the role of medical cartography in shaping public perceptions of disease and contributing to public health reform. My work is driven by my experiences in public health and biomedical research. As an undergraduate at Stanford, I conducted research on neurodegenerative diseases, studied the connections between human and environmental health in the Galápagos Islands and Tanzania, and volunteered at local community health centers. My experiences raised questions that were as much social as scientific: What factors explain unequal distribution of disease? How is research communicated to the public? These questions drew me to the history of science and medicine. History reminds us that the way we present scientific information can significantly impact public perceptions of health and disease. We must work to illuminate health disparities in a way that focuses on addressing social determinants of health, rather than generating stigmas. Studying how public health messages have been delivered and acted upon in the past can help us to improve future initiatives. At Cambridge I will pursue an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine. As an aspiring historian and physician, I hope to pursue work that will enable the medical community to approach health disparities with greater historical context, ultimately providing more holistic, ethical, and effective solutions. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to join a community of scholars committed to improving the lives of others.