|Andrea Knittel, from Ferndale, Michigan,
is a member of the Class of 2009.
"Being part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community is something I focus a lot of activism on because there are many rampant health disparities. There are so many important issues — cancer screening, substance abuse, lack of informed and culturally competent health care. For a lot of these people, access to health care is incredibly poor.
"I'll graduate with a medical degree and a doctorate in public health, and my ideal job would be a joint professorship in medicine and public health. I'd like to teach, but I'd also like to practice clinically — to create a safe space where people could come for services they need, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.
“I went to the Gay Lesbian Medical Association conference in San Francisco last year. I'm proud to say that Michigan had the largest number of students attending of any medical school in the country. It was inspiring to meet older gay and lesbian physicians who are heading into retirement, but still serving as mentors for younger doctors. It was a chance to see medicine — where LGBT people are an underrepresented minority — not only as a light at the end of this tunnel that is medical school, but through a prism that splits it into a rainbow.”
Interview by Whitley Hill
Photograph by J. Adrian Wylie