Meet Our Community: Alisha Smith, PhD Candidate in Mind-Body Medicine
I currently work as the data manager for a federally-funded program called Indianapolis Healthy Start, geared at reducing infant mortality in the United States. Additionally, I serve as an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College where I teach an Introduction to Communication class. My academic career began with a focus in vertebrate zoology and ended with an MA degree in Public Relations. This combination of interests has allowed me to pursue a career in health care. It allows me to utilize my skills and interest in communication while having an understanding of the human body and medical field. My position with Healthy Start has provided me with a strong background of the life-course perspective on public health and the impact of social determinants on health.
My personal experiences during pregnancy led me to explore alternative medicine as a means to improve my own birth outcomes. In an effort to find a physician in the Indianapolis area who utilizes complementary alternative medicine, I discovered that few existed. Personal experience has also shown me that many people in the Midwest either don’t believe in alternative medicine or do, but are afraid to talk to their doctors about it. This experience and my passion for educating others in the health care field led me to pursue a doctoral degree.
At this time, I am unsure what I would like to do once I am done at Saybrook. I have numerous interests and know that there are many opportunities available. It is my hope that along the way in my studies at Saybrook, that something more specific will show itself to me. I am particularly interested in patient-physician communication regarding complementary alternative medicine as well as teaching others about alternative techniques that can be used to complement traditional medicine. Additionally, my husband is currently in seminary and has a strong interest in the dying process. It is my desire to someday work with him to be able to help those or family members of those who may be near the end of their life.
I am married and currently live near Indianapolis, Indiana (Pendleton). I have two beautiful children, Audrey (3) and Noah (born June 2011). Saybrook University has been the perfect school choice to continue my education. Despite my busy personal life, the faculty and staff have been fabulous at working with me to ensure I stay on my educational path. The structure of the courses, although fast-paced, allows students to get to know each other on a more personal level. The support and camaraderie of the other students has been an added bonus and incentive of the program. Even with difficulties during my pregnancy, everyone at Saybrook has been very supportive, something I don’t think I would have received elsewhere. Overall, my decision to pursue an education at Saybrook University is a choice that I will never second-guess.