This bio is current as of 2020. 

Lauren O'Connell studied Anthropology and Pre-Health Studies with a minor in Latino Studies. Through the International Scholars Program, O’Connell worked alongside Dr. Vania Smith-Oka, researching the education experience of medical students in Puebla, Mexico and specifically looking at the ways through which knowledge is transmitted during the internship year and via social networks in the medical field. This experience informed her own thesis project "Empieza con Nosotros:" Tobacco Use and Visibility of Medical Students in Puebla, Mexico

After graduation, O’Connell moved to Chiapas, Mexico to work with Companeros en Salud/Partners in Health as a Community Health Assistant. This opportunity was afforded through the Kellogg International Development Fellowship. In this role, she supervised, trained, and supported community health workers as they accompanied patients with chronic illnesses and throughout pregnancies.

O’Connell now lives in Boston, MA where she works as a Case Manager for Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. She provides legal, social, and health-related support to members of the Boston community who are experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder, domestic violence, immigration-related issues, and other vulnerable living conditions.

This profile was current as of 2018, when she was part of the on-campus Kellogg community.

Thesis: Health Decision Making Among Mexican Medical Students: Exploring Habits of Cigarette Smoking and Perceptions of Health Professionals in Puebla, Mexico

I work with Dr. Smith-Oka on her research on the education experience of medical students in Mexico, specifically looking at the ways through which knowledge is transmitted during the internship year and the social networks of older and younger medical professionals. In this role, I have assisted with translating and transcribing interviews, surveys, and field notes. With her support, I am also working towards a senior thesis in the Anthropology department exploring the sociocultural factors that impact medical students' decision to smoke cigarettes and the perceptions of health professionals as role models for the community. I am specifically hoping to understand which areas of medical education and Mexican culture influence health decision making.

In the past few years I have had several formative opportunities to explore my interests in global health and international research. I received an Experiencing the World Fellowship from Kellogg after my sophomore year and spent two months in the Amazonian region of Peru studying medicinal plants and their role in the health system. The following year I studied abroad in Puebla, Mexico where I returned this past summer to complete interviews with Mexican medical students for my senior thesis project.

Pre-Health Studies
AL/SC Honors Program
Thematic Interests

Medical anthropology, global health and sustainable development, maternal/women's health, culture and western medicine

Research Tags