My interest in public health developed at Wheaton. As a junior, I had the opportunity to work with elderly Vietnamese immigrants in Dorchester, Mass., who lost their health benefits due to newly enacted health care reform. Most of them were tax-paying, legal immigrants who no longer qualified for benefits because they were not citizens. This moved me so much that I spent a year volunteering as a teacher to help them pass their citizenship test, so that they could qualify for basic benefits.
My family came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam when I was 5 years old, so topics like assimilation, acculturation, race, ethnicity and social inequality really speak to me. So, majoring in anthropology and sociology was a logical choice. Plus, professors in both departments were engaging and personable. They encouraged me to challenge the material and ask intellectually honest questions.
After graduation, I spent the first eight years of my career leading recruiting departments for technology companies. My experience as a sociology and anthropology major offered me a unique perspective from which to evaluate social situations.
The types of research methods I used in my majors—writing, interviewing, critical thinking—are readily transferable to talent acquisition. For example, engaging a new prospect for a position is very similar to conducting an interview in the field.
In 2006, I joined InterSystems to develop their global talent acquisition practice. I saw it as an opportunity to re-engage in an industry where I knew I could make a difference. As a leading provider of connected health care software platforms and solutions, the company touches a lot of lives. Our technology is deployed in 23 countries and embedded within 85 percent of hospitals in the U.S.
Keith Nordstrom photo
Anthropology majors map out their varied routes into health care
Seven alumnae/i spoke about the connection between an anthropology degree and a career in health care at the Health Careers without Borders alumnae/i panel in the spring of 2012.
The Quarterly caught up with five of the panelists to learn more about their creative paths to careers in health care: