Elliott Reichardt | Bachelor of Health Sciences’ student with a passion for research
Elliott Reichardt may be only 21 years old, but he’s already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. The Bachelor of Health Sciences student has devoted his four years at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) – which he says have been the “happiest years of his life” – to serving the community and pursuing research in areas where he hopes to help others.
Coming out of high school, Elliott decided to pursue a degree at the CSM after attending a summer camp here as a child. “I called the admissions office every day to find out if I got in,” Elliott confesses. “I love the emphasis on research here and the diversity of areas that the Cumming School has invested in. It has been so exciting and wonderful to be able to conduct research on medical ethics, public policy, disability studies, immunology, and tumour biology throughout my undergraduate degree.” Elliott’s curiosity and passion for research led to the publication of his research on immunology in JURA (Journal of Undergraduate Research in Alberta) during his second year, an impressive achievement for an undergraduate student.
In addition to his time spent studying and in the lab, Elliott has dedicated himself to volunteering around campus and in the wider community. Some of Elliott’s most important work has been volunteering for the Women’s Resource Centre on main campus and with Banding Against Menthol, which resulted in the successful lobbying of the Government of Alberta to protect children from flavoured tobacco. He also got involved with world politics, and is in the process of beginning to lobby the federal government to protect Syrian health-care workers from the targeted attacks against them and the hospitals they work in. “Attacks on health-care workers and hospitals go against the Geneva Convention. What’s happening in Syria is terrible and it’s an important issue we need to stand up for.”
Elliott graduated on June 5, 2017, and while he has enjoyed his time here, he is looking forward to his next step, a master’s degree in health, medicine and society at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Combining his interest in natural science and the social sciences, Elliott will be researching the embodiment of disease. “I’m interested in the ways disease impacts individuals,” says Elliott. “People with chronic diseases understand the world differently. I want to understand their realities and how chronic disease impacts their actions.”
Tidbits from Elliott
Which living person he most admires: My current supervisor at the Cumming School, Dr. Donna Senger, is someone I greatly admire. Dr. Senger is one of the finest scientists I have met. My time in her lab has taught me how to conduct scientific research effectively, and is one of the reasons why I am proud to consider myself a scientist.
His most treasured possession: I have a small, but growing, collection of fountain pens and coloured inks. I take at least one with me wherever I go. It makes writing a soothing activity.
His hidden talents: I really enjoy bouldering and rock climbing. I'm very early in my climbing career, but I love the exercise and the challenge!
What should the Cumming School of Medicine do in the next 50 years: I would like to see the CSM continue to invest in community health sciences and disability studies research programs. By investing in disability studies and community health sciences, the CSM will demonstrate its commitment to addressing the causes of health disparities in Canada.
In fifty years I would like to see a thriving medical school, where deep interdisciplinary discussions occur, where clinician and basic scientists critically interact with disability studies scholars, health sociologists and medical anthropologists, all concerned with how to reduce the suffering experienced by patients.