My Background

I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College as a Pre-Medical student in 2017. During my studies, I found an emerging interest in the intersection of ethics and medicine. I was troubled by the healthcare system’s embrace of reductive perspectives of illness and suffering which was fortified by past personal experience. When I was 16 my brother had a grand mal seizure. After just fifteen minutes with a doctor, my brother is sent home with a prescription for a powerful anti-seizure medication that he needs to take daily. He is given only perfunctory information about coping with the impact this medication will have on his mind and mood. Under medication, he is not the same. His grades start to slip, his mental health deteriorates. My brother’s seizures have been addressed but the lack of regard and support for his overall health and experience is baffling. Thinking about my future, I couldn’t ignore my foundational interest in pursuing medicine around a central axis of ethics. I pursued my Master’s Degree in Bioethics and Science Policy to explore the diverse issues in the field, utilize my multidisciplinary strengths, and help realize the kind of medical practice I would like to advance. At Duke, I became equipped with a depth of knowledge allowing me to become an influencer in the ethical dynamics between hospital and doctor, doctor and patient, and to consider the broader ethical dilemmas of the medical system and our modern world.

Post graduation, I have been working with Peter Ubel, a physician and behavioral scientist whose research and writing explores the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect health, on projects related to patient-doctor communication and out-of-pocket medical costs. Using mixed-methods with a central focus on qualitative analysis we explored, with partnerships at Harvard and Penn University, what physicians know about cost of care and if they have the tools available to reduce these costs. We conducted research projects examining scraped GoFundMe (GFM) medical campaigns. Uncovering what out-of-pocket medical and illness related expenses are driving patients to fundraising sites like GFM. Additionally, I have been working with Dr. Monica Lemmon, a neonatal neurologist, who specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the newborn brain, on a qualitative project uncovering parent’s perceptions of physician recommendations and their preferred decisional role within the NICU.

My research interests center around improving medicine by improving…

  • Patient doctor relationships:

    • Communication; using appropriate language allowing for patient engagement and understanding

    • Empathy/considering the lived experience of disease

    • Shared decision making

    • Understanding how an individual's life experience/socioeconomic status/trauma can influence their health behaviors

  • Hospital environment/structure:

    • Role of the physician; where can it be improved/expanded and when should the responsibility be shifted to someone else ie. social worker, financial advisor, chaplin

    • Propper resources to have healthy and useful conversations/Allowing for enough time for patient doctor communication

    • Communication within hospital system/within specialties

    • Providing support/resources to patients

    • Optimizing hospital policy/environment with patient experience, dignity and involvement in mind

    • Identifying health disparities and the impact of social determinants of health

A little about me

I currently Live in Durham, North Carolina, which, coming from Los Angeles California, is miraculously green. I was raised in an Italian-American household; my dad from Parma, Italy and my mom from Ann Arbor, Michigan. My family is vibrant and creative. My twin brother and my Dad are both chefs and my Mom is a screenwriter and actress. I decided to be rebellious and pursue an academic career in clinical ethics. My passions and hobbies outside of work are dancing Argentine Tango (also dabble in salsa), hosting extravagant dinner parties, surfing (badly), singing and creating music with close friends and family.