Julia Nath

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Undergraduate Institution: Stanford University

Pre- Pritzker:  I worked at the UCSF Department of Emergency Medicine on health services research projects about the drivers of preventable ED use and disparities in outcomes for time sensitive conditions.

Pritzker Activities: Community Health Clinic, Health Policy Interest Group, TA-ing, Rowley Society Leadership

S&D Track: Healthcare Delivery Sciences 

S&D Mentor and Project: Dana Edelson, MD, MS; Department of Hospital Medicine - "Quantifying & Characterizing Telemetry Alerts: A Study of Alarm Fatigue"

Tell us about your research experience(s) at UChicago.

After spending my pre-Pritzker years exploring how policy-level research can shape (or fail to shape) the healthcare system, I wanted to get experience in micro-level quality improvement work that can directly shape our local care environment. My work with Dr. Edelson was part research, part quality improvement project on what was driving non-actionable telemetry alarms at U of C, what interventions could be effective to increase the proportion of actionable alarms, and analyzing whether tested strategies were effective in that goal.

Why did you choose to attend Pritzker?

I loved Pritzker on my interview day. I felt like it was a warm, supportive environment, and every student I spoke to on that day and afterwards completely confirmed that impression. We also care for an urban, underserved community, which matched my ideal clinical learning environment. When my husband (who was applying to grad school at the same time) got into the PhD program in economics at U of C, that sealed the deal!

What have been your most meaningful clinical experiences as a Pritzker student?

I had amazing opportunities over the course of my third year to get to know my patients and their families at a very personal level. On my medicine rotation especially, I "owned" my own patients who were in the hospital for weeks at a time. Over that stretch, I would counsel them on the nature of their illness, their treatment plan, and talk with them about their lives and experiences. For instance, I remember caring for a man younger than me newly diagnosed with HIV that had attacked his kidneys. I saw him every day for two weeks. Over that time, I talked with him through a new diagnoses, lumbar punctures, numerous specialists coming to visit, dialysis, and eventually, how to leave the hospital and manage his illness. He taught me a lot about how we process illness, how radically different being young, male, black, and gay in Chicago was from my life experience, and how families can rally together in impressive demonstrations of love when illness strikes.

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago or the best thing about living in Chicago?

Running, biking, and swimming along the lakefront! I remember that my student interviewer at Pritzker told me that lakeshore trail was his refuge and as a westerner, the natural beauty that made Chicago feel like home. It's amazing how true that has become for me. I go to the lakefront in all seasons for exercise, picnics, outdoor studying, and at one point, a triathlon!