Lauren Franzblau

UMMS Class of 2018

Why UMMS? I chose UMMS for the community, great faculty, and diverse backgrounds among students. I grew up in Ann Arbor and knew that I love the area, but Michigan also has a wonderful student-focused curriculum and abundant opportunities to explore interests alongside medicine, like global health. UMMS has the resources and environment to help me become an excellent physician.

When did you first develop an interest in global health?  I’ve been drawn to medicine for a long time, but I only stumbled upon global health my senior year of college when I took courses in Anthropology and History that explored how health, illness, and medicine were conceptualized in different cultures.

What is the most exciting thing happening at UMMS these days?  The curriculum developments are really exciting. My class will be one of the first to get to pick ‘branches’ as M4’s, which means we can do rotations that align with the areas of medicine we want to specialize in.

Medical specialty area and why? I’m still undecided, but I can’t wait for M3 year to experience different specialties!

Significant impacts along your personal path that led you to medicine or that molded your education/life choices?  Medicine is exciting to me because it can improve people’s lives and help them take control of their health. All of my encounters with the health system as a patient and shadowing physicians have shown me how rewarding it is. Doing research as an undergraduate and after college also taught me how important it is to keep building on the knowledge and tools we have to create better solutions. I’m looking forward to working with patients individually and improving care through research. 

Research summary and impact: During Summer 2015, I coordinated a survey study in Beijing with Dr. Kevin Chung to investigate what barriers to hand surgery patients with rheumatoid arthritis face in China. A number of procedures are used in the US and other countries to help correct hand deformities and functional deficits from rheumatoid arthritis, but these operations are rarely done in China. We surveyed rheumatologists, hand surgeons, and patients in Beijing about their attitudes, knowledge, and practices regarding rheumatoid arthritis hand surgery. Our project aims to define obstacles to surgery so that more patients who want reconstruction can benefit from it in the future.

Ms. Franzblau is shown at right (center) with colleagues from Jishuitan Hospital.