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First-year DPT student Katherine Voorhorst was appointed to chair the joint honor council for several of Emory’s health care professional schools. The joint council encompasses the schools of physical therapy, nursing, anesthesiology, radiology and genetic counseling with three students from each school serving on the council.
For Voorhorst, the appointment was a natural continuation down a path begun years ago. She began serving on and chairing honor councils as an undergrad at Hope College in Holland, MI, and she sought out involvement on the DPT honor council as soon as she entered the program.
“I have a genuine passion for it,” says Voorhorst. “I’m very interested in fairness, ensuring that everybody has the ability to express themselves and present their story.”
She presided over a hearing of the DPT’s honor council, and her performance in that prompted Bruce Greenfield, PT, MA (bioethics), PhD, OCS and associate professor, to nominate her to chair the joint honor council. “She did a wonderful job as student chair of our own PT student honor council with a particularly challenging case,’ says Greenfield. “She is extraordinarily mature, measured and fair. She is also very well respected by her peers and the faculty.”
Third-year DPT student Lucia Rodriguez just returned from her second service-learning trip to the Dominican Republic. (For more on this trip, see the Service Learning section of this newsletter). In her second year, Rodriguez also journeyed to South Georgia to bring treatment to farmworkers where they live and toil. And she is part of the Emory Global Health Institute, an organization composed of faculty and students that develops global health projects within Emory.
“One of the main reasons that Emory appealed to me was its strong service-learning program,” says Rodriguez. “I really honor and think well of people who volunteer. Giving your time and skills that you’ve developed to someone else is important to me.”
On the Dominican Republic trip, Rodriguez proved invaluable. “She had gone last year, and she really took the reigns in terms of leadership this year,” says Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHES and assistant professor. “She and the two other returning students –Tiara Rolle and Chase Billote – really worked to improve the patient access to our services and to further the growth of the program. Lucia gave an extremely well-attended talk about PT’s role in the medical field which was covered by local media.”
Rodriguez helped to treat farmworkers as part of the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project, in which students from the DPT, physician assistant and medicine schools set up clinics in various farms and mobile home communities. On the Emory Global Health Institute, she serves on a subcommittee that is putting together case scenarios for students who are going abroad. The scenarios deal with different ethical and cultural issues the students may face abroad.
Rodriguez sees herself eventually specializing in the sports aspect of physical therapy, but she always wants to make time for volunteer work. “I would love to be able to continue to go to the Dominican Republic and be involved in other pro bono activities, especially within the Hispanic community,” says Rodriquez, who is bilingual from having lived in Venezuela and Curacao until she was 12. “That is something I definitely want to be involved in no matter where I end up.”