Debby Nguyen, a former Health Equity Intern, under the mentorship of Dr. Alisa Lincoln, is on track to publish her book Pill, Teas, and Songs: Stories of Medicine Around the World through her Honors Propel Grant from Northeastern University. The Honors Propel Grant initiative is designed to enable University Honors students to engage in meaningful, creative, and impactful learning experiences of their own design, that is mentored and evaluated by Northeastern faculty. Her book is for anyone who wants to learn more about the people, history, art, politics, and culture behind the diverse medicine practices and products around the world. It is a journey focused on medicine that will take you from the United States to Peru, Nigeria, Russia, India, China, and more.
For her book, she reached out to old friends and teachers she’s met during her time in India to piece together a bigger picture of India’s medicine practices and products, and how Ayurvedic remedies are an integral part of life. She’s learned about herbal medicine, home remedies that transcend continents, discussed cultural appropriation by Western society, and discovered the story behind an antiseptic cream invented to protest colonization. Through telling stories of diverse medicine practices and products, she hopes to document pieces of history, culture, and politics, and hopes to educate others who are interested in incorporating different medicine systems into their life to preserve the evolving legacy of medicine that contributes to our understanding of healthcare.
In Spring 2020, she worked with Dr. Lincoln as a Health Equity intern on a research project on immigrant health in sanctuary cities such as Boston and Seattle. She presented the research at RISE and won the ‘Illuminating Complex Problems’ award. Through this research internship, she’s learned critical research skills that empowered her to write the manuscript of the book and to continue refining the stories she tells. Debby aims to publish the book near the end of the Spring 2021 in two formats, e-book and softcover.