Katherine Gilyard, an undergraduate student from Howard University, won the Fujifilm Scholarship.
My freshman year at Howard University began in August 2012. On November 2, 2012 a serial rapist broke into my dormitory and attacked me. For six years I had to deal with court dates, trial prep, and grieving the loss of everything the assault took from me. In 2018, the trial finally came and ended. So many of my focuses, work, and accomplishments were born out of the assault. The one I’m most proud of is my ability to continue and adapt to challenges that I’ve been faced with. These are some of the ones I’m most proud of.
- I served on the NPPA’s board of directors for two years as the National Student Representative. During this time, I worked to secure awareness and inclusion of minority student community members, started the first NPPA Chapter at an HBCU and created the NPPA Student Council.
- I created Survivors Instead, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and networking of women of color who are survivors of sexual assault. After my own experience, I realized that there was so much lacking in the traditional support structures for sexual assault as they relate to women of color. I learned hard lessons during my recovery that I wish someone had been there to guide me through. It was a lonely process, and I didn’t want another survivor to have to be alone, so I created Survivors Instead. Since its inception, we’ve taken on over 500 survivors and eight contracts and are growing with government and higher education institutions.
My experiences have made clear to me two things that lead my interests and work. The disparities that exist between communities of color and the practice of medicine are in large part due to the disparities that exist in the communication between medicine and the communities it serves. I want to bridge this gap by using the practice of medicine and my skillsets in visual journalism and communications to lessen this disparity to make medicine and public health more informed, accessible and equitable.