Lucia Millham

Lucia Millham

Class of 2016, Modern Europe
Medical student, Harvard Medical School
Lucia Millham

Thesis Title: Language and Legacy: British Nurses and Wartime Trauma on the Frontlines of World War I

What Now: Medical student, Harvard Medical School

As I made my way through the literature, the history, and the historiography of Modern Britain, I was encouraged to think about which aspects I found most interesting. Each time I endeavored to write an extensive research paper (Sophomore Essay, Junior Paper, Thesis), I found myself interested in explaining the history, literature ,and culture of Modern Britain through a medical lens. I wanted to investigate the presentation and causes of illness across time, and how those living in the time period understood the prevalent illnesses around them. This led me to write my senior thesis on the gendered-construction of shell shock, the poorly understood keyword that emerged from the trenches in World War I, through the eyes of women writers of the time.

As I read the medical literature of the early 20th century and puzzled with contemporary physicians about what caused such bizarre neuropsychiatric symptoms and how to treat suffering patients, I recognized my own desire to continue to answer these questions as they might pertain to the present day. I recognized my desire to pursue a career in medicine.

To realize this goal, I completed a 12-month post-baccalaureate premedical program at Johns Hopkins University the year after graduating from college. After completing the program, I worked for two years at the Medical Practice Evaluation Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, using simulation modeling techniques to analyze cost-effectiveness and clinical efficacy of national and international HIV prevention and treatment interventions. Even throughout these three science-heavy years, I continued to employ the versatile skills I learned in Hist & Lit as I researched, analyzed, wrote, and developed comprehensive evidence-based arguments every day. I have no doubt I will continue to benefit from what I learned in Hist & Lit as a medical student and as a physician.