Health Justice For All
An introductory class in public health, a summer internship in Baltimore, a semester abroad at Leiden University, and a little advice from an alumnus helped bring Caitlin Donovan ’19 to this momentous point in her life. Just weeks before earning her degree in sociology with a minor in public health, this varsity lacrosse player is committed to enroll at Duke University School of Law—regarded as one of the top ten programs in the country—and embark on a career to help eliminate health care disparities among the most vulnerable populations.
“I didn’t want to be one of those students who graduated from college without knowing what she wanted to do,” says Donovan.
Introduced to policy in an environmental class and to healthcare disparities in a public health class, she was leaning toward a career in social work or public health until an unpaid summer internship with Healthcare for the Homeless in Baltimore—funded by The Hodson Trust—directed her focus to the study of law. This was when Donovan saw first-hand how legislation can hinder access to the most basic human rights, including healthcare.
As she worked to connect clients to resources such as food banks, educational opportunities, and addiction treatment programs, Donovan says she “became frustrated by the citations given for public nuisance crimes, which essentially criminalized homelessness and made it difficult for the clients to access housing, employment, or other public benefits as they worked to get back on their feet.”
Her semester abroad gave Donovan time for reflection and decision-making. She began thinking about health law, made plans to take the LSATS, and reached out to a fellow alumnus, Tim DiSalvo ’14, who graduated from Duke School of Law last year, as she began to narrow her options.
“Duke’s Health Justice Clinic reminded me of why I wanted to pursue law in the first place. And its small class sizes and student access to professors was a major factor in my decision. That’s exactly why I chose Washington College.”