Meet Daly: She's taking an off-the-beaten-path approach to health

“I had these weird ambitions that weren’t always cookie cutter.”

You probably wouldn’t guess that as an Urban Studies major, Daly is pre-med. But by focusing on community engagement, she wants to broaden her impact as a physician.

“We’re in this era in medicine where physicians are realizing they not only have medical authority, but political authority to help their patients.” 

She has focused her research on Urban Studies’ ties to community health.

She started with a needs assessment of Millvale, but while she was there, news broke that Pittsburgh’s water was contaminated with lead. So she got an Honors Fellowship to conduct a follow-up assessment of the city’s response to the crisis. 

It had mixed results. “These interventions, when not paired with other needs of the community, don’t work as well as they could. Band-aids are not enough.”

That perspective helped her realize how intertwined environment is to your health, and solidify her path as a physician. 

“The Honors College is always pushing me to innovate. I get to study all the things I want to — human rights, social inequity, the history of racism. I wouldn’t have studied the humanities as much, or gotten this public health experience without that freedom and support.”  

Now, she’s working to find solutions another pressing, community-wide problem: the opioid crisis. With an Honors Stewart Scholarship, she was able to attend her first opioid research conference.