NASHVILLE, Tenn. Curiosity drove Carleigh Frazier to healthcare, but passion is what kept her there.
“I had a very curious young mind,” she recalled.
During her time in Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, KS, she had a keen interest in science. The interest stayed with her beyond graduation, and she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from Fisk University.
“I wanted to study biology so that I could eventually go to medical school, “ she said.
Then, something happened during Frazier’s junior year. While it didn’t necessarily alter the course of her life, it set her on a path she didn’t quite foresee.
“I went to this training about being a Peer Health Educator,” she remembered. “The lady that taught it had her degree in Public Health, and the perspective she had on what is beyond just the individual and looking at community factors that impact health, I’d never heard before and was interested in learning more.”
That unexpected mentor was Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, MD, Assistant Director and Assistant Professor at Meharry Medical College’s (MMC) Division of Public Health Practice. She’s also Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Graduate Studies and Research.
Frazier’s path later shifted toward the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) thanks in large part to one of her classmates.
“Tamee Livermont,” she said. “She was always excited about the projects she worked on, and I just became really interested in the MVA.”
Livermont interned with the MVA during the previous school year. Like Frazier, her efforts focused on Community Engagement.
“My main projects are with the Faith & Health Collaborative,” Frazier said. “Helping to build the capacity of faith leaders to address health concerns in their congregations.”
Additionally, she assisted with the Gentlemen And Not Gangsters (GANG) program, building a curriculum and administrative infrastructure to help execute their program.
“Right now, my goal is to graduate with my Masters Degree,” Frazier said. “And then, hopefully, spend a couple years with boots on the ground.”
Frazier hope to work within and throughout the community to make a difference, sharing her knowledge and working with those in need.
“I’ve done a lot of school stuff, and I’m really excited to be able to transfer that and share those skills with people who are hungry for that information,” she said.
Ultimately, Frazier hopes to become a dermatologist.
“I want to continue helping people from a perspective of educating them about their skin,” she said. “The skin is one of the biggest organs in our body, and it’s one you can’t hide from anyone.”
Not only that, she noted, but “skin is also closely linked with how people view themselves. I want to expand the tools available to help people feel better about themselves.”
About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas -- community engagement, interprofessional education and research -- by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.