At the Heart of Medicine

At the Heart of Medicine

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Andrew Phinney has a knack for interacting with and listening to people while supporting them in their journey toward better health.
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Andrew Phinney '14

During the summer following his freshman year, Andrew Phinney ’14 held an internship with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights, NY. He spent his days shadowing physicians, physicians’ assistants, and nurses during the entire process from diagnosing patients to developing their treatment plans. Having grown up in bucolic New Hampshire, Phinney was struck by the economic discrepancies so visible in New York City where he also had the opportunity to assist an under-served population through working with smaller clinics in hardscrabble neighborhoods. This experience opened Phinney’s eyes to the need for improved health conditions across lower-income communities.

Phinney found that he really enjoyed interacting with and listening to people while supporting them in their journey toward better health. “The majority of patient interaction and assessment was done by the PAs,” says Phinney, explaining the observation that has inspired him to explore a future as a physicians’ assistant within the public health sector after graduating from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). “As a kid, I’d always question why things happen the way they do, especially as it pertains to humans,” says Phinney. “I’m interested in the consequences of different behaviors, psychologically and physiologically.”

This past summer, Phinney qualified for a competitive public health in international development internship through the Uganda Village Project. With this organization, he spent two months living and working in rural Kasambiika II – in the Iganga district of Uganda – developing and mobilizing for health outreaches and implementing programs to improve conditions for water, sanitation, HIV/AIDS prevention and health care, nutrition, malaria deterrence, and reproductive health.

Back on campus, Phinney has embraced his role as a Marble Scholar representing the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) with aplomb. “I’m entering my fourth year of a serious program and I want prospective students to know that studying science at this public institution is incredibly legitimate,” says Phinney about his experience as a Biomedical Sciences major with a concentration in Medical Microbiology. “UNH is an excellent school to consider.”