Interview with Danielle Baurer

Dani, standing outside LKSOM

What year are you at Temple?


Why did you go to medical school?

I went to medical school because I love working with people and I find caring for human lives meaningful and rewarding. I considered working exclusively in public health/health policy, but I craved the intimate human connection that medicine provides.

Why did you apply to the bioethics program?

I had planned to get a MPH in addition to my MD during medical school, as my career aspirations have always been to work in both clinical medicine and public health/public policy. I was intrigued by the MAUB program when I interviewed at Temple. I loved the way Dr. Jones described Urban Bioethics — to me it felt like a kind of “public health bioethics.” I hadn’t spent a lot of time studying ethics before coming to Temple, but I had always been interested in justice in health care in both clinical and policy levels. The bioethics program seemed like a unique way to examine issues that I was already passionate about.

What is your hometown? Is there anything unique about your hometown?

I grew up in Wynnewood, PA, a very affluent, predominantly white suburb just West of Philadelphia. Growing up in such a homogenous place made me want to live in a diverse city for the rest of my life.

What is your favorite Philly spot?

I really love the South Street Beer Garden on a Friday afternoon when it’s not busy. I remember I studied cardiac pathology there during second year once, it felt very rebellious. Otherwise I love sitting on the bank of the Schuylkill on a sunny day, or Clark Park any day!

Where do you like to study?

My study spot at Temple is on the second floor overlooking the atrium with my study buddies Emily and Mica. I love that it’s not isolated and suffocating like the library, and has a good buzz from the students sitting in the atrium but is quiet enough not to be distracting. It’s also a good place to snag free food from events taking place in the atrium in the evenings. When I’m not at Temple I study at Rival Bros on Lombard.

What do you like to do when you are not studying?

When I’m not studying I’m usually in West Philly with my leftist Jewish community. I like to spend time outside, whether that’s running, biking, or wandering. I also love to cook, see/hear live music, and go dancing.

What have you learned about yourself while studying bioethics?

I have learned that I have very strong convictions! I also learned that despite committing myself to embodying bioethics in daily clinical practice, I am still susceptible to desensitization. When I returned to clinical rotations after a bioethics fellowship last summer, I realized that I was newly sensitized to troubling dynamics and situations at the hospital. Practicing bioethics-based medicine requires true commitment and self-reflection on a daily basis!

What is your favorite/most meaningful class and why?

My favorite class I’ve ever taken was an Education Policy class in undergrad. I devoured the syllabus of philosophy, history, and policy and even considered going into education policy work from that class. The class gave me a framework for thinking about justice and policy in other realms as well.

At Temple, my most meaningful class was the Mindfulness Meditation course run by Dr. Heran and Dr. Gersh. I took it during its first iteration, in my first year of medical school. First year was very challenging for me emotionally and this class gave me so many tools to understand myself better and survive medical school with my soul intact. By the end of the class there were six of us attending regularly, it was a really wonderful and supportive community.

Do you have any pets?

I am an aunt to two wonderful dogs! Kippy is my parents’ dog and Shorty is my sister and her partner’s dog. They are both amazing. My childhood turtle Ruffles is still alive, turning 20 this year, but he lives in Cherry Hill.

You recently matched during Match Day 2017 — tell us about where you matched.

I matched at UCSF’s Family and Community Medicine program. I am so honored and excited to train there. I did an away rotation at UCSF Family Medicine and was amazed at the love the residents and faculty have for their patients. It’s a really beautiful place.

What has been your favorite rotation?

I loved my family medicine rotation at Crozer third year — it was relieving and exciting to find the specialty that was right for me and work with kind, caring residents and attendings. In fourth year I loved the HIV Primary Care Elective and of course my international medicine elective in Guatemala.

You currently are writing your thesis for the MA Urban Ethics program — what is it about?

My thesis takes a critical look at the way the medical community understands teen pregnancy and childbearing. Contrary to popular belief, the literature has failed to show a causative effect between teen childbearing and worse outcomes for parents and children. Our strongly held assertions that teenage childbearing is detrimental to teens and society is actually rooted in racist eugenics theories and histories of reproductive coercion. I’m writing about how the medical community can be better informed and respect reproductive autonomy in caring for teens from marginalized communities.

What non-medical literature do you like to read?

I’m constantly trying to read more. The last book I finished was When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, which I loved!

Are you currently binge-watching anything?/What was the last show you binge-watched?

I love the show Jane the Virgin and highly recommend it. I’m constantly shocked that I am able to enjoy something so dramatic, but it’s so clever and has great political undertones. Someone on the show had an abortion which is quite rarely represented as normal in the media, and they often make pro-immigration side comments.

Recently I got angry because they made a comment about overpopulation and then said #SupportPlannedParenthood, which is exactly what my thesis is about! Suggesting that overpopulation would be solved by better contraception isn’t problematic at face value, but there is such a history of these efforts focusing on reducing the fertility of poor women of color. But generally Jane the Virgin is good :).

What is an aspect of healthcare you are most concerned about?

Ay, what am I not concerned about? I think in this very moment I am most concerned about efforts to destroy the progress we have made with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I am not a huge fan of the ACA but I do believe it was progress and I am worried that human lives (as well as the lives of safety net hospitals like Temple) are at great risk if Medicaid expansion is rolled back or attached to work requirements.