June 14, 2021

Student Spotlight – Michelle Shin

Michelle Shin in the Ayni Wasi office with Ollantaytambo's dog, Jack

Name: Michelle Shin
Hometown: Los Angeles
Degrees: MSN, MPH, PhD-c
Department: School of Nursing
Research/Areas of Interest: Cervical cancer prevention





How did you get here? Why nursing?

I studied international development studies at UCLA, which was then a new major that combined foundational classes in history, anthropology, economics, and sociology. I was interested in global health, and also needed a practical way of obtaining U.S. residency to stay near my family. This led me to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing from University of Virginia in clinical nurse leadership.

What drew you to the research you do?

I felt compelled to learn more about cervical cancer because it is such a blatant manifestation of health inequality. The fact that so many women who are the pillars of our society and families, most of them in low-resource settings both in the U.S. and the world, die everyday from this very preventable disease, resonated with me personally as a first generation immigrant, woman, and a mom, and professionally as a nurse working in marginalized communities.

What is one unforgettable experience you have had that impacted your career trajectory (nursing or otherwise)?

One time while I was working as a community coordinator in Sacred Valley Health in the Peruvian Andes, I stood up all night outside the Cusco hospital with an indigenous man who had a chronic, un-healing leg wound from flesh eating bacteria, only to be turned around with the same antibiotics that he could buy in his village 5 hours away, This experience made me want to study how to make systems work better in real lives of the people.


What projects are you working on right now? Or what’s next?

I will start a postdoc position at USC where I will be working for Dr. Jennifer Tsui focusing on increasing HPV vaccine uptake in federally qualified health centers in the LA and New Jersey area. I hope to continue working in global health in some capacity and gain more experience and expertise in implementation science, mixed methods, cancer care delivery and health equity.

If you could be anything else, besides a nurse, what would it be?

I think I would have liked to become a journalist. I love listening to people’s stories, and telling their stories to others.