Spotlight: Erika Ong

Name: Erika Ong

Major: Public Health

HCMP Role: Fall 2018 Intern

Classification: Senior

Other Associations: Director of Alumni Relations (Texas THON), Financial Director (Senate of College Councils), Community Involvement Member (Natural Sciences Council)

Describe a shadowing experience that has impacted you the most.

I really enjoyed my time shadowing with Dr. Harper. As someone who specializes in neurosurgery, Dr. Harper’s field is extremely intricate and detailed. I had the opportunity to observe a procedure on a woman who had previously had a kyphoplasty. The cement that was injected into the patient’s spine in order to treat a compression fracture had (20 years later) began to cause her pain and discomfort due to the fact that ┬ápieces of cement had begun to invade her spinal column. In the procedure I observed, Dr.Harper removed the very small pieces of cement from her spinal canal. Apart from being an insanely talented neurosurgeon, Dr. Harper is extremely giving and charitable and is helping to establish one of the first emergency rooms in Zimbabwe. What was even more impressive to me is that he is helping to train medical residents of Zimbabwe in order to establish a more self-sufficient clinic that is run for the people of the country and by the people of the country.

How has HCMP benefited your professional or individual goals?

HCMP has given me the opportunity to thoroughly understand the various medical specialties. As someone who was primarily interested in Pediatrics coming into HCMP, it has been really great to understand that there is so much more to the medical field than what I originally thought.

What has been your favorite aspect of HCMP?

Getting to know everyone in HCMP has been so special because although we are all interested in the field of medicine, we all have such different passions and specific goals!

What do you like to do in your free time?

Visit Austin coffee shops and bookstores! Some of my fav Austin coffee shops are Summermoon, Brentwood Social House, and Bennu Coffee on SoCo. Some of my favorite books are Being Mortal, When Breath Becomes Air, and Mountains Beyond Mountains.