Last year, a group of Duke students organized the first Medicine, Literature and Culture Celebration, featuring Duke alumna Grace Li, a Stanford medical student and author of the Netflix-optioned novel Portrait of a Thief. The success of that event has inspired another talk from a Duke alumna who sits at the intersection of medicine, business and the humanities.
The Nov. 5 event, co-sponsored by DGHI and more than 20 other Duke departments, features Dr. Quinn Wang, co-founder and CEO of Quadrant Eye, the world’s first end to end at-home eye exam. Wang graduated from Duke in 2010 with a bachelors degree in English literature and with an MD from Duke School of Medicine in 2015. She will talk about her nontraditional route into becoming a female, Asian-American Silicon Valley startup founder and how her undergraduate humanities background deeply influences her work as a physician-entrepreneur.
We talked with Trisha Gupta, a Duke junior studying economics and global health and one of the organizers of the event, about the upcoming talk and how students are exploring connections between health, technology and the humanities.
Tell us about Dr. Wang. What do you expect to hear from her on Nov. 5?
Dr. Wang is an inspirational figure within the fields of healthcare, technology and entrepreneurship. She will be speaking about a range of topics on Nov. 5, with the event including an introduction to QuadrantEye, narrations about many of Dr. Wang’s lived experiences and interactive question-answer sessions with the audience. I expect to hear about how she entered the startup space, how her humanities background helped her build QuadrantEye and how we as students can make interdisciplinary connections similar to how she did.
How does her career illustrate the interdisciplinary themes the student organizers are hoping to explore?
Dr. Wang’s career is particularly interesting because it features the intersection of health, technology, business and humanities. The student organizers are hoping to shine light upon themes such as digital healthcare, personalized treatment and female-run businesses through this event. Not only is Dr. Wang’s career a perfect example of using data to influence health for larger communities, but it is also a female-led technological advancement that calls for immense recognition.
How did you get involved with this group of students?
I became part of the Medicine, Humanities and Business student organization while looking for opportunities on campus that fulfilled my interdisciplinary interests. I am intrigued by the intricate intersection of health, data and technology, and when I found out that the organization was planning to have Dr. Wang as a guest speaker this fall, I saw it as a great way to become involved.
How do you see this work connecting to your interest in global health?
This work inspires me because it is taking healthcare to a more personalized level. As we have learnt from the pandemic, healthcare is not always easily accessible or affordable for all. Dr. Wang’s work exemplifies a new, innovative way to reach people in the comfort of their homes, expanding coverage and allowing for self-directed care.
What’s your advice for other students who want to explore the ways health and the humanities intersect?
Join the Duke Medicine, Humanities and Business organization! But also, find out about how people such as Dr. Wang carved this path out for themselves and research career opportunities that align with your specific interests. There is a huge overlap between health and humanities, whether it be when conducting literature reviews for disease prevention or when using data analytics to understand community sanitation trends. It’s just about finding your niche!